AR Wear’s anti-rape underwear: Seriously?

American company AR Wear have developed ‘anti-rape underwear,’ or, in their words, ‘wearable protection for when things go wrong.’

American company AR Wear have developed ‘anti-rape underwear,’ or, in their words, ‘wearable protection for when things go wrong.’

According to the company, the pants have a ‘innovative skeletal structure’ that resists cutting with scissors or knives, the only way to undo them being a padlock-type device that the wearer must enter a unique combination into in order to take off the knickers.

Not surprisingly, this news has caused a lot of controversy, with some claiming that inventions like this only add to the ‘victim blaming’ problem and that the real problem we should be addressing is ‘rape culture,’ while others say that if the pants help to prevent sexual assaults from happening then they are a good thing and shouldn’t be too heavily condemned.

I won’t rehash all the old arguments about victim blaming because I’m sure that everybody has heard them before. We’ve heard the analogies about how ‘You wouldn’t leave your car unlocked so why take risks with your body?’ and the outrage that statements like this have caused.

Not only has everybody heard them before, but I’m also not entirely sure where I stand on issues such as this. As much as I think that victim blaming is reprehensible and that the only person responsible for rape is the rapist, I don’t think that there is anything inherently wrong in protecting yourself as much as you can by making sure that people know where you are at all times and not walking down dark alleyways at night.

What I do think needs to be highlighted on the topic of these anti-rape pants is the fact that the wearing of them could potentially place the victim in even more danger. If an armed man is trying to cut your clothes off and finds he can’t get into them, the pants might risk making a mad man even madder. Is he just going to turn around and stroll away or is he more likely to attack the woman in some other way?

Let’s not forget that sexual assault doesn’t have to include the vagina. I’ll bet that it is just as invasive to be forced to perform oral as it is vaginal sex, and what about the risk that the man will order the woman to ‘unlock’ the pants herself, leaving room for a court room to decide that the woman was complicit in the act as a judge did in Australia?

What if, one day, women who get raped are called into question for not having worn the pants that day? Or what about, as in 70 per cent of cases, the woman is raped by someone she knows, but hasn’t worn the pants because she trusts that person?

What about the men, children or disabled people who get raped? Will everybody one day be wearing anti-rape pants?

What’s more, how practical are these pants anyway? What if I really need to pee, or worse, have a bad case of the runs?! What if I’m so drunk that I can’t get them off? It also ruins the mood a little for consensual sex, don’t you think?

You can never predict when you’re going to be raped. I’d say that’s why so many people do get raped – they weren’t expecting it. I’m sure that not many women leave the house thinking ‘Hey, if I go to X place with X person, they may rape me but YOLO!’

Additionally, these pants can’t feasibly be worn all the time, right? I’d guess that, being technical clothing, they’re going to be pretty pricey, and unless you’re somebody who likes to wear the same knickers every day of the week (eesh), you’re probably not going to want to spend your life savings on knickers that might prevent you from getting raped on the off-chance that somebody does try to rape you.

But then, if they do make people feel safer and help to prevent people from being raped (I’d be interested to see some evidence of this), then surely they can only be a good thing. AR Wear say in their brief that they understand that nobody is responsible for the rape other than the rapist, and while ‘AR Wear will not solve the fundamental problem of rape in the world,’ it will give people ‘peace of mind’ and the ‘power to control the outcome of a sexual assault.’

I’d question just how fool proof this last assertion is but otherwise I don’t think that AR Wear are victim blaming. I think that they have the best of intentions and who am I to condemn anybody for inventing something that could really help somebody?

What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.