This is a post with a serious subject. I won't judge anyone for bailing on this post if you don't follow me for serious subject matter. Fair enough and all that. Ready for the heavy stuff? Then let's take the jump together...
There are a handful of topics that I hold near and dear to my heart due to personal experience. It would be nice if life hadn't handed me these particular experiences but it did. I've found the best way forward for myself is to accept them, learn from them, and do what I can to help others when dealing with them.
Once upon a time, I wrote an article about abuse. It's a serious matter that affects people indiscriminately. Abuse comes in many shapes, shades and forms. No one is given a "get out-of-jail-free" card because of their gender, race, or age. In fact, any and all of those factors are used as justifications by abusers.
Sexual abuse and rape are two pieces of the abuse puzzle I'm touching on today. Studies have been done showing a correlation of resistance reducing the probability of sexual contact or rape. Resistance can take many forms, from verbal through the physical. However, to my limited knowledge, no studies have been done about the correlation of resistance to sexual assault and personal injury.
I want to discuss this topic today because a new product line for women has come across my radar. AR Wear - Confidence & Protection That Can Be Worn. They're trying to gain funding for development and I think it's important to contribute if we can. I'm aware there are a lot of controversial responses to the garment. I'd like to ask those who feel strongly one way or another to please remember to be kind if leaving a comment. As hard as it is for me to publicly admit, I'd have liked to have had this garment because I believe it would've given me more of a fighting chance.
I suppose I've felt compelled to speak about this product for two reasons.
Firstly, as I've already mentioned, any additional opportunity to thwart my attacker would have been something I wholeheartedly would have welcomed. I strongly support anyone taking necessary measures to empower and protect themselves from unwanted physical contact. Whether it's through a rape whistle, self-defence classes, self-defence tools (i.e. pepper spray where legal), and now protective clothing.
Secondly, I've been witnessing some exceptionally negative public backlash to this product. It seems an injustice to blame this garment, or any other means of people defending themselves, for unwanted sexual contact escalating into a more violent situation. I don't believe the inventors of this product line had anything but good intentions. Let's focus on being part of a proactive movement to protect ourselves and those we care about.
Helpful contacts in the UK and Dorset areas:
National DV helpline (24hr)
Men’s Advice Line
(national helpline for male victims)
Respect National Helpline
Broken Rainbow National
LGBT DV helpline
(Sexual assault referal centre)
Dorset Rape Crisis Support Centre