A platform for voices supporting women's rights
Two New York women, Ruth and Yuval set up the company after one of them experienced her seco9nd sexual assault and was shocked at how easily her clothing could be removed by force. Thus AR Wear (or Anti-Rape Wear) was born. The women wanted to create clothing that was comfortable, easy to wear yet fool-proof against unwanted access. The garment are constructed of reinforced fabric that is strengthened by a “skeletal structure” around the crotch and cleverly designed locks around the thighs and waist. The products are intended to make women “feel safer” whether “on a first date”, or “out for a run”.
Aside from the inevitable moral questions about turning profit from sexual assault, the idea behind these products clearly issues from good intentions. However, there are more than just a few fundamental flaws with the production and promotion of AR Wear’s clothing. Essentially, what Ruth and Yuval have created is a modern-day chastity belt which places the onus of rape prevention on victims, rather than perpetrators. Once again women are tasked with “putting off” rapists when we should be focusing on how we stop rape and rapists, full stop. From excessive drinking, to skin-tight clothing, we know all too well that victim-blaming is sought wherever possible. What now happens if a woman is not wearing AR Wear? Is she considered to be inviting the rapist, even consenting? It sets a dangerous precedent.
Possibly the most concerning side-effect is that AR Wear sends the message that the biggest threat of rape women face is outside the home, from strangers, or fellow joggers in the park. In fact, the majority of rapists are known to the victims themselves and is often committed in situations where women would normally feel comfortable and thus, not be wearing “anti-rape” underwear. This, as well as the message that women are the sole victims of rape, conveniently forgetting men, children, the elderly, transgender.
Female Report! longs for the day that products like this would never find a place on the market, that there would be no need for anti-rape wear. But whilst rape exists, can we not urge women to take responsibility for its prevention, but actively sponsor the combat of rape and those who perpetrate it, chaining up the criminals rather than female intimacies.