Anti-rape underwear


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Shocking! Indian Engineers Introduce Electric ‘Anti-Rape’ Underwear

by Apr 3, 2013 5:05 PM EDT

Fed up with a culture of sexual harassment, three students in India are building undergarments to help women fend off attackers by delivering electric shocks.

Anti-Rape Lingerie?
Michael Haegele/Corbis

India’s recent brutal rapes have inspired a new invention.

Three engineering students in India have developed “anti-rape” lingerie, which they claim will help women fend off unwanted sexual advances.

The garments—named Society Harnessing Equipment (SHE)—have been wired with pressure sensors and equipped with an “electric-shock circuit board,” which delivers up to 82 electric shocks when the garments detect unwanted force. Using a GPS system, the undergarments can also apparently send an alert to parents or police.

As the students described the project, the inside of the garments are insulated with polymer—with a circuit placed near the bosom, “because in the attempt of rape or roadside eve-teasing, as per survey, women are attacked first on their bosom.” (Eve-teasing is an Indian euphemism for harassment.)

One of its creators, Manisha Mohan, an engineering student at SRM University in Chennai, told The Times of India: “A person trying to molest a girl will get the shock of his life the moment pressure sensors get activated, and the GPS and GSM modules would send an SMS [to the Indian emergency number] as well as to parents of the girl.”

According to The Times of India, Mohan says she is working on finding a fabric that will allow for the garment to be washed and that they are planning to begin “commercial rollout” this month. It’s still unclear how the garments will be able to differentiate between unwanted and wanted sexual advances—or if they will be smart enough never to shock the woman who is wearing them. Because of the complexity of the engineering, it’s also unclear how accessible the product could ever be.

A website for the project reveals what looks like what looks like a white nightgown with wiring between the breasts. Mohan cited India’s recent Delhi and Bangalore rape tragedies as inspirations for the development of the product.

“The lawmakers take ages to come up with just laws and even after that, women are unsafe,” the students wrote on their website. “Hence, we have initiated the idea of self‐defense which protects he women from domestic, social and workplace harassment.”


One thought on “Anti-rape underwear

  1. Talk about reinforcing rape culture: to call it being “fed up with a culture of sexual harassment”?

    So three students decided to invite “shocking” underwear because they were “fed up” with a culture of “sexual harassment.” I don’t believe that the recent rapes in Bangalore and Delhi should be classified as sexual harassment rather than gang-rape. Nor am I entirely sold by the picture of a woman, a White woman, from where I’m sitting, wearing what appears to be a bra and underwear set, but looks nothing like what this invention claims to look like. Sex appeal for an anti-rape campaign?

    But it’s not an anti-rape campaign, is the problem. It doesn’t address rape culture or rapists it/themselves. No, once again, it puts the responsibility back on women in a possibly more egregious way than I’ve ever seen that in some ways reminds me of a chastity belt: we can keep ourselves safe by wearing this, it says. Otherwise, *shrug* no guarantees.

    To me, this is not an outraged reaction to rape and rape culture, it is a way of denying women agency (as the article points out, how will the underwear differentiate between consensual and non-consensual?) and reducing their sexuality to something to be protected from, and thus controlled by men. If anything, this strikes me as an attempt to control women’s sexuality, rather than protect their rights. Not to mention the fact that it only even attempts to address assault on the breasts.

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