• Mon, Oct 28 - 1:00 pm ET

13 Reasons This New Line Of Modern Chastity Belts Scares Us

rape-prevention-underwear

AR Wear, a clothing company, is developing a line of garments that will protect women from sexual assault. Think running shorts with reinforced crotches, underwear that can’t be pulled down and traveling shorts that prevent rape. Yes, just like chastity belts. Yes, this is real (Just check out their Indiegogo campaign).

I have so many reactions to this campaign and to these garments:

1. Whoa.

2. Whoa again.

3. I almost thought this was a joke or a parody at first.

4. How do you go the bathroom?

5. This is weird.

6. This is crazy.

7. Why are all the models white?

8. Why are all the models women? Men, transpeople, genderqueer and other LGBTQ, non cis-gender individuals experience rape, too.

9. It’s incredibly sad that it’s necessary that garments like this would even be conceived of, much less invented.

10. Rape culture, look at what you’ve produced!

11. Would Emily Yoffe approve of these anti-rape underwear?

12. While I think these garments are innovative, interesting and might prove valuable for some people, it seems they place the burden of protection against rape and sexual assault on the woman rather than on teaching rapists not to rape and bringing those who do to justice. While wearing an anti-sexual assault garment might give a woman (or, for that matter, any person who feels under threat of sexual assault) a helpful sense of security, it ultimately reinforces the pervasive and harmful societal assumption that the responsibility of not getting raped lies with individual women.

13. Also? Sexual assault and sexual violence isn’t limited to a person’s genital area.

Here’s a bit more information from the Indiegogo page of AR Wear:

We developed this product so that women and girls could have more power to control the outcome of a sexual assault…We read studies reviewing the statistics of resisting assault, whether by forceful or non-forceful means. We learned that resistance increases the chance of avoiding a completed rape without making the victim more likely to be physically injured. We concluded that an item of clothing that creates an effective barrier layer can allow women and girls to passively resist an attacker, in addition to any other form of resistance they may be able to carry out at the time of an assault.

The accompanying video to the Kickstarter campaign (which you should watch ASAP) says, outright:

“It is, in fact, anti-rape wear.”

Suggested times to wear these garments include on first dates, when running alone, when traveling in a foreign country, and more. How do they work? They’re constructed with a special reinforced skeleton structure that can’t be cut or ripped. They lock in place, they can’t be pulled down, and only you (the “user”) can take them off.

sexaul-assault-underwear-2

The Indiegogo campaign has raised just under $3000 of their $50,000 goal towards creating prototypes for anti-rape and sexual assault garments. Unlike traditional Indiegogo campaigns, AR Wear’s does not include any type of reward if you donate, because of the “seriousness of the message and product line.”

What do you think about anti-rape clothing? Would you wear it? Would you buy it? Would you give your money to this company so that other people might have the opportunity to wear it and buy it?

Photos: AR Wear’s Indieogogo campaign

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  • CMJ

    So, how does “only the user” get them off?

    • Cecilia S.

      Watch the video.

  • Annona

    I don’t think I would wear them, because I don’t think I need them. But I can certainly see that under some circumstances they would be helpful to women (Peace Corps missions come to mind.) It’s unconventional, but its existence does not offend me in any way, any more than I was offended by the toothed inserts that were being given to women in Africa.

    But if you can take them off yourself (because you’d have to be able to) what would stop you from being forced to take them off?

    • April Conway

      I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa, and I can say I would not have worn them. Felt safer there than I do in the U.S….

  • Elizabeth Alexander

    this actually seems more dangerous to me. If the rapist can’t actually rape you, isn’t it highly plausible that they would get angry and violently hurt you in other ways? Like possible murder ways? we know most rape isn’t about sex, it’s about control, so if the rapist looses control that seems to me like a recipe for disaster. but maybe i’m wrong (actually, let’s hope i’m wrong!)

  • Liz Grierson

    I wouldn’t buy these. But I don’t object to them either.

    Using this is like using a bike lock – sure, the only real solution is to teach thieves not to steal. But since they do, I use a bike lock, and selling those doesn’t put the blame on bike owners.

    Similarly I reject the argument that if the rapist can’t rape you he might act out in worse (?) ways. Would you tell someone not to bother locking the door, because if the thief is frustrated by the lock he might smash a window instead?

    I am not fearful enough of rape in my daily life to buy this, but I can certainly understand the perceived value.

    • neetz

      You’re making a false analogy here with the bike lock. You, unlike a bike, have agency and therefore are not being left ‘unattended’. These analogies further to treat women as objects. While not perfect, I think illustrating this with the idea that no one wants to get shot, so why don’t more people wear bullet proof vests on a daily basis? Are you in part at fault now for not doing all you could to prevent/protect yourself from being shot? Of course not, these garments are another form of ‘put more clothes on”, “don’t go out alone” ect.

    • Liz Grierson

      If someone says ‘ahh well your (SUBSTITUTE ANY CRIME HERE) bike wasn’t locked, that’s why it was stolen’ we need to be loud and clear about that fallacy. The bike was stolen (site was bombed, person was raped, etc) because a criminal committed a crime – that is the only reason.

      That being said, we ALSO need to speak out against the idea that crime prevention or
      deterrence somehow equals victim blaming. Taking measures to defend ourselves does not equate
      to crime being our own fault if we don’t do more prevention.

      To be clear: whether
      it’s bike locks, silly underwear, banking passwords, or airport security
      – the existence of these measures don’t imply that if you don’t take the measures the crime is your own damned fault – but they DO deter
      crime. Until the world is beautifully rehabilitated and criminals no
      longer exist, these things have a place, and no one should be criticized for doing what they can to deter crime.

    • neetz

      I completely agree with you here. Crime prevention isn’t always victim blaming. Rape I believe is a special in the sense that our society handles it much different then other bodily crime.

      The media reacts to cases of rape as “what could this woman have done differently to prevent this?” Other crime is not like that. That’s why I think you’re abs right in terms of crime in general, except rape. Campaigns solely target women in the US on rape prevention, if there was more balance in terms of having ad campaigns targeting men (ie. Scotland) then this underwear would be much less of an issue.

    • Liz Grierson

      Agreed. Totally agreed. ALL of our anti-crime campaigns should be focused on stopping or re-educating criminals. In an ideal world we shouldn’t need to take any measures to protect ourselves or our property, because those things should just be safe and respected. But I think there’s a difference between
      campaigns and tools.

      I think tools (like bulletproof vests or locks or karate lessons or anything else) are self-defense for when you think you are going to be in a high-risk situation. That risk absolutely SHOULD NOT exist. But since it does – I can’t see police saying “We shouldn’t make bulletproof vests, it detracts from the real issue of teaching people not to shoot other people”. They are not mutually exclusive.

      On the plus side – there are starting to be more great campaigns out there with the proper focus – like this one: http://www.theviolencestopshere.ca/dbtg.php (from my hometown – yay!)

    • neetz

      I looooove the ‘don’t be that guy’ campaign. We def need more of it.

    • Luke Sherry

      “Would you tell someone not to bother locking the door, because if the thief is frustrated by the lock he might smash a window instead?” I don’t know how appropriate the metaphor is, but I have actually observed what you describe. There was a cabin in the woods in a rural area where the window locks were installed on the outside since they would rather have people intrude in the cabin than have them break windows and then intrude (it also came in handy when WE couldn’t unlock the door). In a place where there are ‘eyes on the street (see Jane Jacobs)’ then locks can do a lot of good. Locks always keep the honest honest, but where a determined intruder doesn’t have to fear being caught, locks can be a liability.

  • c.c.

    i think these undergarments are a horrible idea. promotes victim blaming! wrote an extended explanation of how and why on my blog: http://wp.me/p2TYd9-30. linked to this article in it!

  • nocroman

    Interesting, and yes there are bad guys out there that don’t respect womans rights. But then there are an awful lot of woman and girls that think it’s funny to take a guy to the brink of his tolorance and then say NO and scream rape when the man or boy loses control and takes her anyway. High school and college girls love playing these games.
    Woman need to make it clear. Yes or no at the beginning of a date and not string a man along.
    Oh yes I have seen men do the same thing and watched woman get extremely pissed off when a man does it to them.
    Respect each other. and ladies, do wear panties. not wearing panties and giving a guy a peek is saying yes here’s your goal, go for it!

    • Alden

      I think you missed the point, nocroman. Like you literally just said, the problem is ‘men or boys losing control’, not messaging or mind-changing on the part of the victim. Implying that women not wearing panties (or whatever) constitutes an invitation to lose your damn mind and rape her is ridiculous.

      It pisses me off when other men claim they have the self-control of toddlers — ohh, I saw the cookie but she wouldn’t let me have it, so I just took it anyway, and it’s her fault she made me want it so much — because it tars all of us with the same disgustingly immature brush.

    • kittendelight

      You’re a moron.

    • kayjoha

      nice job perpetuating rape culture nocroman. you are awful.

  • Darr247

    Is her ‘master’ locking them on with that tool in the article’s picture?

  • Penthesilea

    If I wait for the world to “teach” men not to rape, hell will freeze over. I don’t care what you think or who you blame. (The article makes it sound like rape is noble if it’s for the right principals.) All I care is that I’m not raped. If this garment prevents that, I’m all for it.

  • Penthesilea

    P.S.: Contrary to belief, most rapists don’t kill. The myth that resistant victims get slaughtered is just that. Studies show that females who fight or make noise are far more likely to be left alone. This garment would help achieve that.

  • HH

    This anti-rape clothing is not a “cause” of rape-promoting, it’s a “consequence”. Obviously, teaching about values and rapists not to rape is the TRUE solution, but since this isn’t enough, the person takes the responsibility of not getting raped. This does not promote rape, is just a solution for a problem that apparently can’t be solved that easily. It’s an awful consequence, it is, but it can be compared to buying an anti-robbery alarm system. Immediate solution for a unresolved problem. PD: if there’s any grammatic errors, sorry, english is not my native language.

  • Amanda Lee

    So what if these were used to by some controlling (read: psycho) husband to make sure his wife doesn’t stray or equally crazy parents to make sure their daughter doesn’t lose her virginity. This prevention aid could be used for heinous acts as well. Have the makers thought about that?

    • Cecilia S.

      You should watch the video. What you are suggesting doesn’t make sense given how the makers have described the product. They can’t be used to control the wearer. The wearer would be able to take them off. It’s not like there’s a key stored somewhere. The mechanism is right there on the shorts.

  • Bree Henderson

    I look up where to buy AR wear and I find an article about why the new “chastity belts” scare us… Hm.

    Let’s get one thing straight these aren’t chastity belts. Chastity belts are not even a real thing, but chastity belts describe an ancient idea where people wore permanent, unremovable underwear so they couldn’t even pleasure themselves to stay pure for religious reasons.

    This is ANTI RAPE wear. It’s for rape… not preventing ourselves from touching our own parts. Even though it’s a product of RAPE CULTURE the development of this product is important for our society because at THE VERY LEAST people will realize that rape is an actual real threat that one out of five females and female-identified individuals in general experience. Fuck you for making this article.

  • Bree Henderson

    You go to the bathroom by unlocking the belt which is a simple combination that only the wearer would know. Yes it’s unfortunate that these kind of things exist but it’s not the first time something similar to this has been developed. The reason these things don’t get the attention they deserve is because people like you bash them and make fun of them. Which is another part of rape culture; making light of rape and joking about it. You are enforcing rape culture congratulations.

  • KEmpast

    I’M FOR IT… If women feel safer wearing these… then they should have the option to wear them.

    So the Naysayers are saying that maybe it makes them feel more insecure being aware of rape… it still protects them.

    Lets move forward with this!