LIFESTYLE

Date Rape Nail Varnish That Changes Colour When It Detects Drugs Could Be Available By 2017

'It shouldn’t have to exist.'

16/11/2016 14:03

A nail varnish designed to detect date rape drugs could be available to buy as early as next year.  

The product, Undercover Colors, is the brainchild of four male engineers, who came up with the concept while studying at North Carolina State University. 

The nail varnish works by changing colour if coming into contact with a drink containing a popular date rape drug, such as Rohypnol. 

After reportedly receiving $5.5m (£4.4m) in investments, the start-up told its Facebook followers the nail varnish was “coming soon”, adding “much to come in 2017”.

Bubbers13 via Getty Images

The makers came up with the concept after learning about how many women experience sexual assault at university. 

While there are no official figures about the number of young women assaulted at university in the UK, a 2015 Telegraph survey reported that one in three undergraduate students had been the victim of violence or unwanted advances.

Meanwhile on a national level, it’s estimated one in five women aged 16 - 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.

According to the Undercover Colors website, this number changes to one in six for American women.

“This unthinkable problem has reached epidemic levels on college campuses. And something must be done about it,” it adds.

“Power must be handed back to women in what is a devastatingly powerless situation.”

On Facebook, thousands of women have commented on the brand’s page to thank the students for designing the product.

“Thank you for helping to provide women with the tools to help control our own lives and safety,” one said.

“Thank you for finding another way to ensure we get to make a serious choice for ourselves.”

Another added: “Can’t wait for this to go commercial. It shouldn’t have to exist but we can do whatever possible to keep each other safe.”

But the nail varnish doesn’t come without controversy. When the students announced plans to create the product back in 2014, some said it encouraged a culture of victim-blaming.

“While well intentioned, products like Undercover Colors actually perpetuate rape culture by placing the burden of safety back onto women,” Sophia Kerby wrote in a blog on The Huffington Post.

“Let’s stop getting distracted by gimmicks like this and talk about real solutions to the growing violence against women.”

Kerby went on to call for better education on victim-blaming and consent and said we need to engage men to be “part of the solution”.

She said: “Instead of funnelling money into making gadgets that help prevent women from being raped, let’s talk about solutions to shifting rape culture where consent, on both sides, is seen as the norm.”

What do you think about the nail varnish? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @huffpolifestyle

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