If you want something done properly, the saying goes, sometimes you have to do it yourself. For Manisha Mohan, a student of aeronautical engineering in Channai, India, something had to be done to protect women in a cultural climate where sexual harassment often crosses over into brutal attacks. The most horrific example of this was in December last year, when a 23-year-old woman was beaten and gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi. She died from her injuries weeks later.
Police and politicians weren’t doing enough and Manisha was aware of what she called a “numbness” among some women that the curent state of affairs, instead of being an atrocity that needed to be stamped out, was simply the way things were. So she decided to take matters into her own hands. And anyone who tries to get their hands on her, or any other woman without consent is in for a nasty shock. Quite literally.
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At first, the device which Manisha helped build with her friends (which is being popularly referred to as the anti-rape bra) sounds like the sort of thing that Scarlett Johansson might have worn in The Avengers. It carries a 3,800-volt electric shock (by comparison, a domestic power supply carries between 100 and 200 volts), which is enough to give an attacker second degree burns. It also does all kinds of cool hi-tech stuff like send text messages to family or police and GPS coordinates of the victim’s location.
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The bra has areas lined with pressure sensors. If one of the sensors is activated then it’s nighty-night for the would-be assailant, but it is also designed to differentiate between the touch of an attacker and a loved one so there are no unpleasant surprises for anyone who doesn’t deserve them. The underside of the bra is also insulated with polymer so the wearer is protected against electric shocks.
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Because she is such an all-round badass, Manisha said she wants to make the invention available to women throughout India and across the world “without gaining a profit.” As she says herself: “Since the lawmakers take ages to come up with just laws and even after that, women are unsafe. Hence, we have initiated the idea of selfâ€defence which protects the women from domestic, social and workplace harassment.” Sick Chirpse is getting to its feet and saluting a technological genius who, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.