Charlotte Hannah
April 17, 2013

Indian Students Create Anti-Rape Bra

Rape culture is alive and well in India. Several recent gang rapes in the country – one of which resulted in the death of a 23-year-old medical student – are a testament to that.

While a new law was passed in India on March 21 that brings harsher punishments for perpetrators of sexual violence, harassment and assault are still common practice in the country.

Spurred into action by these horrific recent events, Manisha Mohan, an aeronautical engineering student at SRM University in Chennai, India, along with fellow students Niladhri Basu Bal and Rimpi Tripathi, created a special garment that puts the power to stop a sexual assault in the hands of women.

Mohan calls her creation the SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment), and it’s essentially an anti-rape bra that uses several technologies to help the wearer defend herself against would-be attackers.

In an interview with Isabel Wilkinson from the Daily Beast, Mohan described the bra as “a retaliation against menaces in society.”

The anti-rape bra (left) and its electrical components (right).

First and foremost, the garment contains a pressure sensor connected to an electric circuit. When the sensor is activated, the bra unleashes a 3800kv electric shock on the person who’s touching it. Mohan tested it on herself and said the shock was enough to give her burns that lasted for weeks. In other words, you don’t wanna mess with someone who’s wearing one of these.

The bra also has some built-in safety features. It’s lined with an insulating fabric that protects the wearer from being shocked herself. Plus, the pressure sensor is calibrated to recognize squeezing, pinching and grabbing, so it won’t be set off by a hug or someone simply brushing against it. Finally, the electric circuit can be shut off with a switch, so the wearer can activate it in situations in which she feels unsafe, but keep it turned off the rest of the time.

Mohan (far right) and team collecting a Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award.
Photo credit: Techpedia

The bra also features a GPS component that sends a text message about the garment’s current location to loved ones and the nearest police department if the wearer is in trouble – though it’s unclear how this piece works.

Mohan and her team are currently working on making the bra machine-washable and the hardware less bulky, and figuring out how to mass produce it at a price the average Indian woman can afford. The 20-year-old told the BBC she also hopes to eventually integrate Bluetooth technology to link the bra to a smartphone app.

“My vision is to see every women walking confidently on the streets in all parts of the world, even at odd hours,” she said.

Ours too.