Feminists and women worldwide have denounced a new product, designed to deter potential rapists from carrying out a sexual assault. Anti-rape underwear is the brainchild of company AR Wear, who say that they: “..would like to provide products to women and girls that will offer better protection against some attempted rapes while the work of changing society’s rape culture moves forward.”
The underwear consists of a wide range of undergarments, which include running shorts, traveling shorts, etc., and are resistant to any kind of assault. The garments have been specifically designed to be extremely difficult to remove, by force or stealth, in the event where the wearer cannot effectively stave off an attack.
But what does the manufacture of such garments say about us as a society? Is it not putting the onus of safety on to the victim, and not addressing the role of the perpetrator? And as most rapes are not carried out by a stranger who is stalking their victim in a dark alley or carpark, but by someone they actually know, should we as women be wearing these garments all the time, just in case?
As the Department of Justice statistics show, 82% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, would the wearing of anti rape underwear work in those circumstances? Or would they further enrage the perpetrator, and possibly lead them onto committing a ‘worse’ crime than rape? To frustrate a potential rapist, when police advice to any victim is to not antagonise the perpetrator, is surely the worse thing that you can do?
AR do not agree however, and state on their website that: “We developed this product so that women and girls could have more power to control the outcome of a sexual assault. We wanted to offer some peace of mind in situations that cause feelings of apprehension, such as going out on a blind date, taking an evening run, “clubbing”, traveling in unfamiliar countries, and any other activity that might make one anxious about the possibility of an assault.”
And they also dispute the notion that resisting an attack could further enrage the perpetrator, as they have studied the statistics of resisting assault, and learnt that by resisting, the chance of avoiding a completed rape, without making the victim more likely to be physically injured, was increased.
AR believe that their anti rape underwear offer a passive way of resisting a sexual assault, that could compliment other forms of protection, such as rape alarms, pepper spray etc
The underwear consists of a specially designed material that is resistant to ripping, slashing or tearing. There is also an innovative skeletal structure which makes the garments easy to wear, and the waist, thighs, and central panels are all protected with cut resistant straps and webbing. There is a strap around the waist that once locked, cannot be undone and it ensures that the garment cannot be pulled down.
The anti rape company AR was founded by two designers, Yuval and Ruth, one of whom, had been attacked before. Ruth told The Guardian: “I had been subjected to two attempted rapes, one at the age of 18 and one in my late 20s. In both cases, delay had kept the rapes from being completed. In the first case, I had fought off my attacker until he heard noises nearby and broke off the attack.
In the second case, my attacker had me around the throat with one hand and with the other hand somehow managed to pull down my tight jeans and underwear while throwing me to the ground. I started screaming and something caused my attacker to run off. The memory of how he had pulled down my clothing so quickly made me believe that AR Wear could be effective at preventing some rapes by causing delay.”
The company is currently trying to raise funds on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo, where they have reached their $50,000 goal ($51,798 raised) with 11 days yet to go.
AR state on their website that they understand their underwear is not the long-term solution to sexual assaults: “As long as sexual predators continue to populate our world, AR Wear would like to provide products to women and girls that will offer better protection against some attempted rapes while the work of changing society’s rape culture moves forward.”
For more information visit Indiegogo.