SELF defence means different things to different people.
For some it involves physical force, often through a form of martial arts, while others prefer keeping a rape alarm close to hand. Many women (and men too for that matter) don’t prepare for the worst at all and, ultimately, if you’re being attacked your adrenaline is likely to take charge.
‘Nothing makes a woman feel comfortable in her own body like a constant physical reminder that she's expected to guard her genitals against potential sexual assaults at all times.’
That can of Impulse in your handbag was never intended to be used like a pepper spray but who knows what could occur in the heat of the moment? English law clearly states ‘one can act in ways that otherwise would be illegal to prevent injury to oneself or others, or to prevent crime.’
Problem is, when it comes to sexual assaults, there’s a possibility that none of the aforementioned lines of defence will work. According to Rape Crisis, approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year.
But what if the victims of attack had the power to control the outcome of the assault? That’s the question that’s being asked by New York based clothing brand AR Wear who have already raised over $35,000 of their $50,000 goal to get their anti-rape garments on the market.
On their crowd funding campaign page, found on funding platform Indigogo.com, AR Wear states: ‘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, travelling in unfamiliar countries, and any other activity that might make one anxious about the possibility of an assault.
‘We believe that the tools of self-defence currently available are not effective in many common settings of sexual assault. Training in martial arts or products such as pepper spray, tear gas, stun guns, etc. can only help if the potential victim is extremely alert and bold when an attack occurs. Worse still, products of self-defence can be taken from the victim and used against her.’
The AR Wear prototype can be seen in the video below. The design inventors have in mind will be resistant to cutting and pulling through a tough webbing structure in specific areas, plus thigh and waist locks which appear to work a bit like a safe.
It’s hoped these features will frustrate an attacker enough to make them give up and through research the company believes ‘resisting sexual assault lessens the chance of a rape taking place without increasing the violence of the attack’. They also state the finished prototype will be easy to put on and comfortable to wear. Now that’s a lot of boxes to tick for a pair of briefs.
Of course the name ‘Anti Rape Wear’ alone is enough to spark debate across the world wide web. Amanda Hess of Slate.com wrote this week: ‘Nothing makes a woman feel comfortable in her own body like a constant physical reminder that she's expected to guard her genitals against potential sexual assaults at all times.’ Many others have argued that as a society we should be taking control of rapists not women’s undergarments.
Still AR Wear never said they’ve found a solution to rape but rather offering another option for women to consider.
They state: ‘Rape is about as wrong as it gets. The only one responsible for a rape is the rapist and AR Wear will not solve the fundamental problem that rape exists in our world. Only by raising awareness and education, as well as bringing rapists to justice, can we all hope to eventually accomplish the goal of eliminating rape as a threat to both women and men.
‘Meanwhile, 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.’
Follow Lynda on Twitter @lyndamoyo
We want to know your thoughts on AR Wear. Would you feel safer wearing anti rape pants or is this nothing more than a false sense of security? Comment below...
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