In the discussion of problem solving, both short-term and long-term solutions must be reasonably emphasized to ensure that the problem is being addressed correctly. Personally, I see short-term solutions as a cure and long-term solutions as a prevention.
Recently, some part of the internet has been outraged by the introduction of a nail polish that detects date rape drugs. This is not the first rape prevention product that has been introduced. From a quick observation online, some felt that the introduction of such products puts the burden of avoiding rape on the potential victims, instead of on the potential rapists. This can be seen as empowering the rapists rather than the victims. In addition, why should people watch what they wear or do in order to not be raped, instead of the potential rapists not raping people? Why aren’t people creating products to prevent people from raping rather than to prevent people from being raped, claimed another popular opinion. One article shared these sentiments.
I like to share one quote by the aforesaid author: Cool new nail polish is just the latest in way for us to adapt to rape.
This goes to the discussion of rape culture. According to Wikipedia, “examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, denial of widespread rape, or refusing to acknowledge the harm of certain forms of sexual violence that do not conform to certain stereotypes of stranger or violent rape.”
Although the author raised grave concerns in the article, I feel that having rape-prevention products is not a sign of victory to the rapists. I see it as a short-term solution as the long-term solution is taking place. This piece is similar to others that I have read, in which any responsibility or burden shouldered by people are deemed as an acceptance of rape culture. In addition, similar pieces try to portray that people should avoid taking precautionary steps, thus, over-shifting the burden of responsibility to potential rapists.
Culture is very inelastic. Even when one confronts rape culture, society will take time to readjust and response to new ideas and status quo. The United States had to wait until 1967 before interracial marriage was deemed legal. Even now, there are still some people, albeit a small minority, who are against interracial marriage. Similarly, some people will take time to understand fully that rape is wrong, and is not a trivialized matter.
I agree that people should have free will, free from direct and/or indirect coercion and fear of being raped. However, I also feel that people should be realistic and aware of any lurking and imminent threats. Sure, it is no fun having to worry about someone spiking your drink every time you look away, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
In the mean time, until we live in an utopia, I think people should both stop walking alone in dark alleys at night and harm no one.