Two years ago, Missouri Congressman Todd Akin cost himself an election with comments about sexual assault and pregnancy. He said, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Akin's words came to mind when I read that four recent graduates of my alma mater, North Carolina State University, had started a company to bring to market a nail polish that changes color when exposed to so-called date rape drugs. Their product would, in a sense, give the wearer's body a way to try to shut that whole thing down.
This nail polish may sound like a great, empowering invention. But the drugs it would detect are used in only a tiny fraction of sexual assaults, so it offers little real protection compared to the extent of the problem. And it adds yet more weight to the pernicious idea that the prevention of sexual assault is somehow the responsibility of its victims.
These young men began developing their product while still students, with the support of advisers at the university. They won grants and seed funding awarded by committees of professors, alumni and business leaders. And that's what bothers me.
University students are young adults.They bear responsibility for their actions and their education. But in many ways, the grown-ups are still in charge -- of guiding those actions and providing that education.