Defying the typical high school persona, three girls are shutting down stereotypes of the high school girl with a genius invention. The girls are addressing a serious modern issue with their invention — the problem of date rape. The trio has come up with a straw that can keep people safe from sexual violence.
The girls, Victoria Roca, Susana Cappello and Carolina Baigorri attend the Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami. One of the classes these students attend is an entrepreneurship class. It is here that the trio came up with this unique straw.
When you first look at the straw, you won’t notice a huge difference from regular ones. But what the girls did is design it with two strips in it, ones that will reveal if a drink is unsafe when the straw is placed in the glass.
Talking to The Inside Edition, the girls explain what the straw does. “It has two test strips so if you put it into a drink, it will determine whether it’s drugged or not. If it is drugged, the strip will turn to a navy color,” Roca explains.
The girls talked about the reason why they decided to come up with this straw. “Being young women, I feel like this is a problem that we hear about a lot, especially when we came to high school,” Baigorri told Inside Edition. Baigorri isn’t wrong in saying this as date rapes form the highest number of rape cases.
The girls have taken into account the most popular date rape drugs in the market. Their straw can detect traces of these date rape drugs. These include gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), ketamine (Special K) and roofies (Rohypnol). The girls even hope to make their product eco-friendly.
Date rape happens often among college students. It’s usually (unknowingly) taken with alcohol or other drugs. When taken, the person is not aware of what she has ingested. Only after waking up does the person realize that she was unconscious at some point and unaware of what happened.
Stats show that women between the age of 16 and 24 are the ones most targeted for rape. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (Rainn) reports how 11.2 percent of students experience sexual assault or rape through physical force. These include both undergraduate and graduate students.
It’s not just women who experience sexual violence. Stats from RAINN show that 8.8 percent of victims are female and 2.2 percent are males — these include graduate and professional students. When it comes to undergraduate students, 23.1 percent are female and 5.4 percent are male.
10. College Is A Danger Zone For Rape...But Non-Students Are Still At Risk
Even if you are not attending college, you are still at risk of date rape. “Student or not, college-age adults are at high risk for sexual violence,” according to RAINN. “Female college-aged students (18-24) are 20% less likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault,” while “Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.”
When they were researching, the girls found an even more alarming problem with date rape drugs. One that goes beyond the act of rape. “With our research, we found out that a lot of (times) when drugs are put into drinks (women) don’t only get raped but they [are] trafficked,” Roca told The Inside Edition.
A patent for the straw is currently in the works. This patent will enable the girls to bring the straw to the market and sell their product. The trio is also considering crowdfunding their business venture to fund their product.
What the girls hope is to get their product sold in places where drinks are more easily laced with date rape drugs. Places such as clubs, bars and even restaurants. Their goal is to help lower the number of rape and sexual assault victims.
“Our impact is just to help people feel safe in their surroundings and be aware of what’s going on and just to make sure that where they are, and what they are drinking, is safe,” Cappello added. “We know it’s not a solution because it can’t end rape, but we were hoping to lower the amount of rape and dangerous situations you might be in through drugs,” Baigorri said.
Although it’s still early to see the effect of this straw in the market it is, nevertheless, a step in the right direction. These girls are hoping to safeguard the lives of many people with a tiny piece of plastic. One that could alter the course for many people to remain safe from the experience of sexual violence.