Undercover Colors, a nail polish created by four college students from North Carolina State University, changes colors if it is dipped in a drink that has been spiked with certain date rape drugs.
The goal of Undercover Colors is “to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime,” according to the Undercover Colors Facebook page.
The nail polish changes colors when it comes in contact with drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB. Women can stir their drink with their fingers to determine if someone has put one of those drugs into it, according to the Facebook page.
“The thing with the nail polish, as with so many products, is that it can be used as a tool for risk reduction but not prevention of rape,” said Mary Wyandt-Hiebert, director of Support, Training, Advocacy and Resources Central. “One hundred percent of rapes would be prevented if those who rape stop raping.”
About 90 percent of rape among college-aged people occurs with some sort of drug involved. There are about 20 different drugs labeled rape drugs. Alcohol is by far the most commonly used, Hiebert said.
Another concern with the nail polish is that it may create a false sense of security. People may think their drink has not been drugged, but the nail polish cannot test for the No. 1 most commonly used rape drug – alcohol, Hiebert said.
Rape Education Services by Peers Encouraging Conscious Thought is organizing lots of events this year to help prevent sexual assault at the UofA. They will continue to offer classroom presentations, and if requested, community programs. They will also be organizing awareness events like the Take Back the Night March, the art installation project and the continuation of the meme project, Hiebert said.
“People either love or hate the meme project, but either way, it is doing its job – getting people talking,” Hiebert said.
RESPECT will also be building up its bystander intervention program, “That’s so 6%.” This is based on statistics that show that only 6 percent of men commit acts of rape, but 25 percent of women will be sexually assaulted. This means that most men who commit acts of rape are repeat offenders, Hiebert said.
The new Haven program is also helping to create a safe environment on campus by educating students through an online training module about sexual violence and how to prevent it, said Shannon Haupt, a UAPD compliance officer.
“The university is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community,” Haupt said.
Freshman Kristen West said she thinks the nail polish was a really smart idea, especially because guys thought of it. She said that because girls would be using it, it was especially smart for guys to have the idea. She also said that she would use the nail polish if she had access to it.
“Sometimes I do not feel safe, especially at parties or when I go off campus,” West said. “I trust the people I am with, but sometimes I meet new people and don’t feel as safe.”