[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE]
This tweet is in response to the product to come to light that women can use to hopefully stop rapists from raping them. It's a new type of nail polish that will change color if exposed to Rohypnol or GHB - common date rape drugs. The idea is that if you suspect your drink may have been tampered with, you can stir your drink with your finger and see if your nail polish changes.
I want to preface this by saying that anyone who wants this should get it. Survivors especially deserve anything they can get to help them feel safe in a world which now feels profoundly unsafe to them. I will not condemn the project itself nor impede it in any way. Unless it comes to light that it's a bunch of men profiting off of this, but I'm pretty sure it's women.
But here's the deal. I'm very tired of seeing new "products" like this pop up to have everyone go "wow, this is terrific!" You know what I wish the response was? "HOLY SHIT OH MY GOD HOW IS THIS A NECESSARY THING IN THE WORLD SOMETHING HAS GONE TERRIBLY WRONG."
Seriously. How horrible is it that rape is so prevalent - that date rape drug use is so common - someone was inspired to make a nail polish that women could use to discretely check their drinks so that they can know whether or not someone is trying to rape them.
What kind of fucked up dystopian hellscape do we live in?
Women are already required to keep both eyes on their drink at all times or risk people asking them why they let their drink get roofied. Now we have to wear some secret special nail polish? I hate nail polish.
It also irritates me that no one seems to notice the fucked up-ness of having to be "discrete." Can we talk about how men get so offended if you suggest that there's any chance they might be a rapist that we have to invent ways to secretly check for rape drugs just to cater to their fragile egos? You know what I would prefer? I want a super obvious device that has the words "date rape drug detector" painted on it that I can whip out and go "hold on" to the guy who gave me the drink so that he can stand there and watch me check to see if he's a rapist. And if he makes a fuss about the suggestion that he might be a rapists, I'll say "well so many women get raped, how am I supposed to know? You want me to risk my safety so that you don't have to feel bad about yourself?" And then I can throw the drink in his face.
What's even worse is that doing such a thing isn't even safe. Men will get violent at the tiniest slight, the tiniest ego-hurt. I've heard story after story of men getting verbally abusive and even physically violent at the most polite of rejections, no matter what the reason (including "I'm married"). I've had men cuss me out online for talking about the idea that women can't know which men are rapists and because of the victim-blaming nature of our culture and low low chance of conviction and adequate punishment, we have to suspect all of them (also known as Schrodinger's Rapist).
If this nail polish thing takes off, pretty soon we'll have men getting upset any time a woman puts her finger in her drink.
And then there's the fact that the vast majority of victims are assaulted by someone they know and trust. It doesn't matter how nice and trustworthy a guy seems. It doesn't even matter if he's a friend. Nail polish won't help. Chastity belt style underwear won't help. Yet everyone goes "yay" at these new products and I'm sitting here going "ugh."
It would be nice if everyone else was bummed about it. It would be nicer if more time and energy was spent on getting to the source of the problem. It would be nice to see money going into programs that teach little boys to respect consent. Making movies where men respect the right of women to say "no" to counter the ever-present message that a woman's "no" is a challenge or beginning to a negotiation. It would be nice if people realized that stopping a rapist from raping one woman means he's just going to go off and try to rape someone else. That the only way to actually stop him is to communicate that there will very likely be swift and severe social and legal consequences to his actions - or to stop rapists from existing in the first place.
Putting the onus on women to wear a special nail polish every time they go out only makes things worse for them.
[Note: Lauren Chief Elk is an amazing women and you should follow her. Everywhere.]