While a pepper spray may ward off unwanted assailants, more and more perpetrators these days are really wolves in sheep’s clothing who know how to disarm their victims from within.
The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) notes that most rapes are actually committed by men who know their victims and not random strangers. Such cases known as ‘date rape’, dish out serious damage, as victims do not know what they are getting themselves into until it is too late, by employing cunning tactics such as using drugs in drinks. The trend has become so commonplace that lists of date rape drugs are a vital category in health advisories.
Recognising this, a recent listing on Indiegogo seeks to join the arsenal of items that women simply cannot leave home without.
Pd.id (Personal Drink ID) is a small battery-operated device that helps users identify the presence of date rape drugs in drinks. Mimicking a USB stick, users simply need to immerse part of the device in their drink for a few seconds. The presence of date rape drugs are indicated by flashing red or green LED lights.
The product is touted to use proven technology that has been used by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for years. It takes 3 different tests namely light, conductivity, and temperature to identify both the drink and its components.
The sample is compared to a preloaded database of drink profiles to detect the presence of harmful foreign substances. It can even be used alongside your smartphone to access an even wider database of drink profiles. This also means that the number of drugs able to be detected by the device is unlimited as it may be updated from time to time.
It can be used repeatedly up to 40 times before needing a recharge. These characteristics and some set pd.id apart from other date rape drug detectors in the market as illustrated by the table below.
At the time of writing, pd.id has reached 16% (USD16, 043) of its USD100, 000 funding goal. For USD75, contributors can have their very own pd.id unit fresh from the oven and a two year access to all updated drug and drink databases. Future plans include linking up pd.id with emergency dispatch units and the monitoring of safe outlets should the team achieve its desired funding objectives.
Currently pd.id works well with iPhone version 4 and 5, newer Android phones, and the Blackberry 10.
Cases of date rape are certainly not uncommon. In North America, 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted at least once in their life, with a quarter of these assaults helped along by alcohol and date rape drugs. In 2009, the rate of rape in Singapore was more than double that of India – the site of a recent infamous gang rape tragedy. What was disturbing is that 96.5% of the rape cases that year were committed by familiar people, including friends and relatives. How creepy is that?
With such alarming figures, the emergence of pd.id could not have been sooner. Such innovation is crucial and certainly should continue to spur local developments in the region such as GHB Orange developed by the National University of Singapore.