Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A WQ Discussion: Anti-Rape Wear

Remember at the beginning of the year when I said one of my goals was to return to more "girl power" posts? This is one of those posts. It is probably pretty controversial, and I am hoping it sparks a conversation. I would love to hear what you think of this post and of the content!!

I've gotten in many debates on the topic of anti-rape clothing. Some people think that the idea is ridiculous in the ways that some people think the idea of rape is actually ridiculous. Others can't wrap their heads around how it could help. Personally, I love this idea but I am saddened that we have to resort to this for girls not to be raped.

In Orange County and Los Angeles there seems to be an increase on female attacks and attempted kidnappings recently. I'm not sure if it is really an increase or just an increase in coverage. Either way, I have opted against doing a morning walk around my work because of this. If I ever found myself in such an unfortunate situation, I would be happy to have clothing like this.

Below I have taken the words directly from AR Wear's Indiegogo campaign that ended in November. They reached their funds and are in the process of completing their project.

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.
Although we believe that self-defense skills can help to resist an attempted assault, they cannot be used in all situations and will not always be effective. Other tools of self-defense currently available are also not effective in many common settings of sexual assault. Products such as pepper spray, tear gas, stun guns, etc. require that the potential victim be very alert and might be taken away to use against her.
We read studies reviewing the statistics of resisting assault, whether by forceful or non-forceful means. We learned that resistance increases the chance of avoiding a completed rape without making the victim more likely to be physically injured. We concluded that an item of clothing that creates an effective barrier layer can allow women and girls to passively resist an attacker, in addition to any other form of resistance they may be able to carry out at the time of an assault.
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Our goal is to offer a wide range of wearable items, which will include assorted types and styles of underwear, running shorts, traveling shorts, etc., suitable for different situations and the styles of individual users. The challenge was to design products that can be worn comfortably while still being able to frustrate an assault effectively. The garments must be very difficult for someone else to remove by either force or stealth (in situations where the victim cannot resist because she has had too much to drink, was drugged, or is asleep).
They need to be resistant to pulling, tearing and cutting while being comfortable to wear during normal activities and, as in the case of underwear, fit smoothly under form-fitting outer clothing
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Since we did not find a single material that fulfilled these requirements, our solution was to strengthen specific elements of our garments using an innovative skeletal structure which allows them to remain soft and ergonomic. The waist, thighs, and central panels are protected with specially designed, cut resistant straps and webbing. Once the waist girth has been adjusted and secured with its unique locking device, the garment cannot be pulled down. Since a female’s waist measurement is generally less than that of her pelvic area, the waist strap can be locked at a comfortable position and still prevent unwanted removal of the garment. The thigh straps, after an initial adjustment by the wearer, prevent the leg openings from being lifted or shifted to the sides by someone else. The center panels are connected to both the waist and thigh straps to create a unified protective skeletal structure.
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Do you have a lot of questions about this product? Skepticisms? I urge you to read this Feministing article about it and then read the comments at the bottom. Particularly, those of K. Cecilia Sequeira.

By sharing this article, I am not saying it is the only answer to rape. Nor am I saying that it is the best answer. I do believe that it is a good answer to those expressing anxiety about being raped.

I would seriously, seriously love to hear your thoughts on this! Let's have a Twitter chat! Hashtag #antirapewq or mention me at @raetothewyn

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6 comments:

  1. Wow, this is so interesting! I think it's a good option. Of course it can't be 100% effective, but I'm sure it is somewhat helpful and I don't see any harm in investing in a pair. Thanks for sharing!

    xo Megan, Lush to Blush

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  2. Thanks for commenting!! I definitely agree with you - plus it gets the conversation going for us to make a cultural change

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  3. I have never heard of these before, and I think they are very interesting. It's a shame that it's even come to this, and that a women has to alter her outfit in order to protect herself better. But I could understand how wearing these could help lower your anxiety in certain situations.

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  4. I agree completely!!! Where did you hear about the campaign?

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  5. I honestly don't remember. It was brought up in a group discussion and I know we ended up watching the Kickstarter video, but I don't remember where the original exposure happened. How did you learn about it?

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  6. I subscribe to Indiegogo, Kickstarter and a few feminist blogs and I think one day it was all over all of the emails!

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