Now, I may have just been living in the dark, since a Google search revealed that this product even has a Wikipedia entry, but the existence of such a thing is new to me. I just don't know what to think about this. I'm sure it was developed with good intentions, but it totally creeps me out somehow. I absolutely love the idea of an attacker being disabled immediately in his attempt to rape, and protecting would-be victims from sexually transmitted infections is of course a positive thing. But would wearing such a device empower one with a feeling of security or contribute to an already intense victim mentality? And just how is a woman supposed to know or choose when to wear this thing? If she is attacked during a time when she is not wearing one, will it be another way to guilt and shame her for not "doing her part" to protect herself?
I suppose it depends on one's point of view and level of risk. Who am I to be skeptical of such a product when there are countless women who are vulnerable to extreme danger of attack every day, like the women in South Africa for whom the product was developed, or the women in Ciudad Juárez who are kidnapped, raped, and killed in terrifying numbers on their way to and from work?
But since we live in a world where one in three women will be assaulted or abused at some point during their lives, is anyone really in a position to believe they are safer than anyone else? The thing that bothers me really isn't so much the product itself, but the need for such a product in the first place. It makes me cringe, because it is yet another thing reminding us of our perpetual vulnerability to attack and penetration by men. It makes us admit and concede to this vulnerability, and I automatically want to resist anything that requires that of us. It's a visceral reaction rather than a practical one, but it's one that I can't help wanting to own and embrace. Somehow I find that resistance more empowering than conceding to vulnerability. Any thoughts?