Culture

Look: It’s The Latest In Spring Anti-Rape Wear!

Why waste time whingeing about rape when you could be wearing AR-Wear™? (Warning: not a parody.)

Ladies, have you ever been on a first date and thought, “I’d feel much more confident about this situation if I were wearing a lycra chastity belt”?

Well here’s some good news!

A crowdfunding campaign is underway to get a range of “anti-rape” garments — cannily titled ‘AR-Wear’ — onto the market. It basically amounts to a pair of snug-fitting shorts with lockable panels around the waist, thighs and, uh, “central areas”. In the event of an attempted rape, your attacker won’t be able to take your shorts off without a significant amount of work — and, I suppose, will just get frustrated and walk off to find another victim in a tight-fitting bandage dress who didn’t think ahead.

The video looks like a promo for a messed-up lingerie party, wherein a bunch of skinny girls pivot-turn while others yank at their shorts and go at the fabric with scissors.

It’s all very scientific, and aimed at increasing “feminine impowerment [sic]” — because, as the narrator explains, “Studies show that resisting sexual assault lessens the chance of a rape taking place without increasing  the violence of attack.”

Except that, no. That’s not true. Women don’t get raped because they didn’t fight back hard enough, or because they were wearing the wrong running shorts. In a world where 13-year-old rape victims are asked in court about how much they drank or how long their skirt was, now the judge can add another question: “Young lady, were you aware that anti-rape wear is now available to purchase?” (Also, given that AR-Wear is allegedly easy for the wearer to take-off, I guess the designers didn’t consider that a rapist could just, you know, ask them to?)

In AR-Wear’s defence, they do acknowledge that the real cause of rape is the rapist, not the victim’s undergarments: “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,” reads the site. “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.”

And yet in offering rape-proof clothes, AR-Wear is still perpetuating the myth that women can and should take steps to avoid assault. With products like this being marketed at women, a world without rape is a little further away. But obviously I’m in the minority here: they’ve raised US$19,000 so far.

If I invented something called a Penis Key, which only lets penises be used by others who know the password, would you guys donate to that instead?