Local experts speak on nail polish aimed at preventing rape

GORHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There has been a lot of talk about a new kind of nail polish created by college students in North Carolina.

The nail polish, called "Undercover Colors," could detect some of the most common so-called "date rape" drugs. When the person wearing it swirls their finger in a drink, the polish changes color if the drink is drugged.

Those who work to prevent sexual assault in Maine say, while they applaud the college students for trying to address the problem, the product misses the mark. They say it puts the burden on victims to prevent their own rape.

University of Southern Maine Dean of Students Joy Pufhal says USM used to rely on a similar risk-reduction strategy to prevent sexual assault. But in 2009, the school received a grant from the Department of Justice to create the Campus Safety Project. The program promotes healthy relationships.

"For us that's when it changed, and that's when we understood that we needed to be sending a very clear message that we don't tolerate this" Pufhal said.

Angela Giordano of Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine says that's the conversation we should be having about preventing rape.

"So, thinking about holding perpetrators accountable for their behavior, intervening if we think something looks not right when we are out at a party, having conversations about what it means to be a good bystander, to be an ally to our friends" Giordano told NEWS CENTER.

There is a confidential, 24-hour sexual assault crisis and support line accessible from anywhere in Maine. That number is 1-800-871-7741.


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