Rejoice, ladies. You can finally put away that chastity belt thanks to Delft based start-up Pearltect, who have invented an anti-rape armband which won the Phillips innovation prize this year.

This device, which name recently changed to Invi, is cunningly disguised as your garden-variety jewellery and promises to scare off attackers by releasing a skunk smell and, according to the company, "take away his sexual desires immediately." Because sexual violence is all about desire. (Spoiler alert: It isn't.)

The TU Delft website states the "bracelet is the answer to the huge global problem of sexual violence." Such statements are offensive, gross over-simplifications which disrespect and condescends to the millions of survivors of sexual assault. This is simply one more in a line of ineffective technologies developed with seemingly limited understanding of rape. The reasons this bracelet isn't innovative or useful have long been a subject of discussion, so here we only go into the basics.

Technologies like this perpetuate the myth that most rapes are carried out by strangers in dark alleyways. Statistically most assaults are carried out by acquaintances, friends and partners in domestic settings. The bracelet is not necessarily usable in domestic settings, nor by children or those incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.

The claim that this technology can prevent rape by reducing arousal is also misguided. Sexual assault is about power, control and violence, not about desire and the implication that it is, buys into the harmful notion of rape as an unpreventable by-product of arousal. It's striking how similar this product is to the pepper spray, which provides a false sense of security, but in fact can easily be turned against the user or prompt other violence.

Although there is no doubting the genuine good intention behind it, this bracelet cannot be a solution as it does not even address the problem. Technology can do so much better to help end rape; look at apps like Hollaback!, and games promoting bystander intervention.

From the medieval ages to today such inventions are not new, and have continuously proven unsuccessful in reducing sexual violence – all they do is further place responsibility on women for the violence they suffer. They can also set a dangerous precedent; after sexual assaults women are often inappropriately questioned about ‘what were they wearing'. Now they could be questioned on what they weren’t wearing.

A bad smell won‘t make sexual violence go away, education and intervention will. We have known this for a long time so let’s start making technology that actually changes things.

Ailie Conor is a writer for Delta.

Similar and further reading:

http://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra-2014-vaw-survey-main-results-apr14_en.pdf

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/womens-blog/2013/nov/11/problem-anti-rape-underwear-chastity-belt

http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/30/5764794/stop-making-cute-anti-rape-technology

http://www.buzzfeed.com/juliegerstein/products-women-have-been-told-to-buy-so-men-dont-rape-the#.vyxNZaMxP