Recently, words like “rape culture” have become more prominent in news and social media. Anti-rape campaigns are picking up speed and people are becoming more aware of the frequency of rape. Statistics and information have been drilled into my head since high school: according to the U.S. Department of Justice, “between 20 to 25 percent of college women will experience rape or attempted rape,” and “90 percent of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol.” At orientation we are warned of the consequences of sexual assault and are given facts and more statistics regarding rape and date rape drugs. We are forced to become aware of the concepts before college even begins. But how aware are we really?
The honest answer is that as informed as we are that date rape drugs exist and are used, it is impossible to be aware of an event involving date rape drugs because they are odorless, colorless and tasteless.
We can be as informed as possible, yet remain completely unaware of the presence of substances like Rohypnol or GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid) in our drinks. When I took the time to acknowledge the statistics that I have been hearing for so long, I realized that as a college student, this is an actual threat, and there needs to be more of a solution than just educating people about it.
The company DrinkSavvy could be that solution. Its goal is to produce straws, plastic cups and glasses that change color upon sensing a date rape drug in the drink. The technology for these products originated with a straw designed by Fernando Patolsky and Michael Loffe, an Israeli professor and scientist, at Tel Aviv University. Founder Mike Abramson developed on their prototype to create a variety of products including plastic cups, which are more functional at parties. The products are expected to launch soon, and Abramson states that his goal is to have DrinkSavvy technology as the standard at bars, clubs and universities.
The technology behind this innovation offers people a chance to increase their awareness. It no longer needs to stop with the facts and statistics. Because of this technology, potential victims of drug-assisted sexual assault no longer have to rely on statistics and warnings. Our awareness can be extended, and the threat is no longer as prominent.