India has seen an influx of “anti-rape clothing” over recent years. Although this has created quite some controversy, people across the country are desperately trying to create anything that could hinder unwanted advances.
“The harassment of the girl in Delhi was the turning point for all to realize that we need to take a step against this menace,” 21-year-old Manisha Mohan, who co-created an anti-rape bra, told Vetunotech, referring to the infamous New Delhi gang rape in 2012, where a 23-year-old student was brutally raped, tortured and killed on a public bus. Since then, there have been a number of efforts to create strict measures against rape. New anti-rape laws have been passed by the Indian government, including the death penalty for repeat offenders.
Despite these efforts, rape continues to be a horrifying reality to many Indian women. Earlier this year, a 20-year-old woman was gang raped by 13 men in her rural village as punishment for having a relationship with a man from a different community. In another incident, 10 men were arrested for gang raping a 21-year-old woman. Even more shocking, a 7-year-old girl was raped and hanged.
But relying on politicians and government officials have often been fruitless. One police official compared rape to gambling and said if you can’t prevent it, you enjoy it. Later, a female politician claimed rape occurs when women act and dress inappropriately. Needless to say, many citizens felt like they needed to take measures into their own hands.
This is why three Indian engineering students created the anti-rape bra called SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment). According to NBC News, the bra “delivers a strong electric shock to potential rapists and attackers, and also has the ability to send an alert text message to the wearer’s friends and family.” There are also college students from the city of Varanasi who have created a line of anti-rape jeans. According to Daily Mail, the jeans “contain an electronic tracker that will send a distress signal to the nearest police station when pressed.” And this doesn’t even cover the anti-rape wrist watches and jackets.
Obviously, anti-rape clothing was created with nothing but good intentions, however, many are questioning whether or not it would actually work.
“In India, most of the rapes happen within the family,” said Indian journalist Sonia Faleiro. “It happens behind the closed door. These people aren’t going to stop what they are doing because of a piece of clothing.” Furthermore, Faleiro pointed out that girls still live in fear and anti-rape clothing is just a bandaid to the big issue.
Faleiro certainly brings up good points. This issue won’t be solved with bandaid solutions alone, and women shouldn’t have to live in fear or wear outrageous clothing. Women and victims are not responsible for rape and they should not be the only ones taking measures to prevent it.
However, I still believe it is a step in creating change and most importantly, it has people talking about an issue that needs to be discussed. On certain occasions, these devices let women feel safe and give men the message that a lack of consent is not OK.
Tell us what you think.