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Nail Polish Busts Potential Rapists Before ‘High Tide’

By Catherine Murombedzi

With date rapes on the increase, four college students from North Carolina University have developed a tool that will bust would-be-rapists before any sinister moves takes place.
With young women’s fancy to look good, the nail polish in the fingers will stop the tide before it builds up.
The nail polish, called “Undercover Colors,” is an innovative tool designed to detect date rape drugs in drinks.

  1. Development: Four students from North Carolina State University – Ankesh Madan, Stephen Gray, Tasso Von Windheim, and Tyler Confrey-Maloney – created the nail polish as a project for a materials science class.
  2. How it works: The nail polish changes color when it comes into contact with certain chemicals commonly found in date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB. The color change indicates the presence of these drugs in the drink.
  3. Chemical reaction: The nail polish contains a mixture of chemicals that react with the drugs, causing the color change. The exact formula is not publicly disclosed to prevent potential tampering.
  4. Application: Users apply the nail polish to their fingernails as they would regular polish. If a drink is spiked, the nail polish will change color when the user dips their finger into the drink.
  5. Accuracy: The developers claim the nail polish is highly accurate and can detect even small amounts of the drugs. However, it’s important to note that no scientific studies have been published to confirm its efficacy.
  6. Limitations: The nail polish only detects a limited range of drugs and may not detect other substances used for spiking drinks. It’s also important to remember that a negative result does not guarantee that the drink is safe.
  7. Potential impact: This innovative tool has the potential to empower individuals to take greater control over their personal safety in social situations. However, it should not replace common sense precautions and awareness.
  8. Availability: Undercover Colors is not yet widely available, but the developers aim to commercialize the product and make it accessible to a broader audience.

While this nail polish is a creative solution, it’s essential to recognize that it’s not a substitute for awareness, caution, and consent. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, help them to report to the police or organizations handling such services.
Meanwhile, the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, has a hot line open 24/7 where victims can report any abuse. The hotline is 575.

Date rape statistics in Zimbabwe are limited as some go unreported.
Sexual violence often goes unreported due to stigma, cultural norms, and the delays to justice for some. At times, due to lack of evidence, some rapists have escaped prison. Living in the same community, the victims feel further abused.

A 2019 survey by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) found that 1 in 3 women aged 15-49 experienced physical or sexual violence in their life with 22% of women reported experiencing sexual violence.
A 2017 study by the Musasa Project, a local NGO, reported 65% of female respondents experienced some form of sexual violence.
The abusers were known to the survivors, 45% of perpetrators were partners, friends, and acquaintances.
The Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Police reported 3,864 rape cases in 2020, with a 15% increase from 2019.
However, nationally, only 10% of sexual violence cases are reported to the police.
A 2020 report by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) found 71% of survivors of sexual violence in Zimbabwe were between 15 and 24 years old.
Sixty percent of the survivors experienced physical injuries, and 40% suffered psychological and post stress traumautic disorders.
It’s important to note that these statistics likely underestimate the true extent of date rape and sexual violence in Zimbabwe, as many cases go unreported. Efforts to increase awareness, support survivors, and strengthen the justice system are essential to address this critical issue.

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