27th of August 2014
Also read our updates from The Huffington Post and VICE Magazine under the original article please.Is polishing of your nails one of your steps to prepare for a party? In the future it can be recommended as a pre-party procedure even more: not because of your beauty, but for your safety.   Four undergraduate students at the North Carolina State University created a nail polish that changes colour in the presence of common date rape drugs like Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid). To see if a drug has been slipped into your drink, just swirl a finger polished with 'Undercover Colours' nail polish around in your drink: if the beverage contains rape drugs, the nail polish changes colour, like the special coasters or paper strips that already exist. The young inventors won first place at a competition for students working on solutions to real-world problems with their idea and they also were supported by North Carolina State and by an investor who found them on Startup Showcase - so we can hope that this kind of manicure will be on our own nails soon! Sophia Kerby, a writer at The Huffington Post, has some very smart things to say about inventions such as this nail polish: Thanks to four male college students from North Carolina State University, you may soon be able to add a new accessory to your outfit and tool in combating date rape: nail polish. A new nail polish called "Undercover Colors" will be able to detect date rape drugs by changing colors in the presence of Rohypnol (roofies) or GHB (G-juice), the two most commonly used date rape drugs. To see if one of these drugs has been slipped in your drink, a woman has to stir the drink with her finger. Throw that in with the rape whistle and pepper spray that your mom gave you freshman year and you've got your back-to-school check list covered. While I applaud their efforts to prevent sexual assault among college students, after reading their product description, it's pretty clear that these male students know little rape culture and even less about plausible solutions. Sexual assault doesn't only happen at bars. Analysis by the Washington Post in 2012 show nearly 4,000 allegations of sexual assault on college campus with Penn State University (56), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (34) and Harvard University (31) topping the charts. About 73 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the survivor knows, where women are more likely to feel comfortable and less guarded. Alcohol is just part of the problem. Our friends at Feministing remind us that, while the stats might vary, it's pretty clear that "plain old alcohol is the substance most commonly used in drug-facilitated rape." While well intentioned, products like "Undercover Colors" actually perpetuate rape culture by placing the burden of safety back onto women. Let's stop getting distracted by gimmicks like this and talk about real solutions to the growing violence against women. Here are three things college campuses can actually do to help keep all students safe. 1. A little rape-culture competency wouldn't hurt. One of the most devastating aspects of rape culture is the rampant victim blaming. We hear it all the time from victims not being taken seriously when they report sexual assault to their university campus to publicly defending accused rapists while denouncing what their victims say. When violence against women is being trivialized and ignored, none of us are safe. Host an on-campus brown bag lunch to talk about how victim-blaming occurs and talk about what we can do to prevent it. 2. Engage men as part of the solution. Are we having those tough conversations with men, who are more likely to be perpetrators of sexual assault against women, about how to be respectful others boundaries, personal space and what consent really means? Hannah Brancato, co-director of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, a sexual assault prevention group, states that for consent to be part of common practice on college campuses, it needs to be incorporated "in the sexual culture on college campuses." This needs to include both women and men. FORCE launched a college-themed guide for consensual sexual activity. Check out the guide here and use it on your college campus. 3. Accountability, please. Schools currently facing investigation for mishandling sexual assault complaints have listed several possibly policy changes, including changes to their disciplinary proceedings where expulsion becomes a possibility for perpetrators of sexual assault. While such policy changes will put more of the burden on the perpetrator, such disciplinary hearings have led to wildly inappropriate questions for survivors and light punishments for perpetrators found guilty of assault, such as expulsion after graduation (who knew that was even a thing). Policy changes need to not only hold the perpetrators accountable, but the school's handing of these hearings as well. It's pretty terrible that in 2014, that these kinds of products even need to exist, but the reality is that they do exist. Instead of funneling money into making gadgets that help prevent women from being raped, let's talk about solutions to shifting rape culture where consent, on both sides, is seen as the norm. And then Bertie Brandes at VICE Magazine wrote this (and we agree with her): As somebody who writes online and tweets and identifies as a feminist, however, I appear to have drastically missed the mark. The BBC reported yesterday that a whole lot of people have been outraged by the invention of this safety precaution, and not because the scientists have failed to release an extensive color chart. The BBC also noted, quite hilariously, that "the inevitable internet backlash came from a surprising source—anti-rape advocates," as though they initially expected to be dealing with a group of pro-rape advocates furious that people might have a new way to stop them from attacking women. I can imagine the product's inventors rolling their eyes in anticipation: “Just wait til the rapists get wind of this guys, it’s going to get pretty rough on Twitter.” But no, so far the pro-rapists have kept suspiciously quiet. Instead, we have a lot of people who are actively interested in gender politics and feminism denouncing this invention. Why? Well mainly for a lot of reasons that are absolutely true, but in no way related to one another or even practically enforceable. The most annoying and widespread response has been along the lines of, “Hey, instead of making women wear this nail varnish, how about you just DON’T RAPE THEM,” as though, if these armchair activists had the power they deserve, there would be study-groups of rapists across the world being lectured and read blog posts from Jezebel, their palms glued to their foreheads in disbelief, wondering how they could ever have been so gross and inconsiderate. I don’t mean to devalue the work of those anti-rape activists, obviously, but when somebody’s response to the news of a product that might help ensure the safety of a vulnerable person is: “WELL HOW ABOUT YOU ASK THE RAPIST TO WEAR THE ANTI-RAPE NAIL VARNISH” it’s hard not to wince. Yes, of course in an ideal world the rapist would be apprehended before he even became a rapist and nobody would rape anybody ever. But unfortunately we don't live in an ideal world. Not yet. Arguing in absurdly simplistic moral absolutisms makes you sound like a five-year-old struggling to grasp the concept of crime. Equipping people with the tools to better look after themselves is not the same as victim-blaming or advising them to take “preventative measures.” What’s sad is that these and other safety measures—rape whistles or mace, for example—are largely only marketed towards females. Maybe if more people started talking honestly about how men are also at risk from both physical and sexual violence, it would feel a lot less like women were being blamed for simply being women. Finally, it’s important to remember that this nail varnish does not claim to prevent rape but simply detect the presence of a drug. And you know what? That’s pretty useful. A study of American college students put the rate of attacks carried out on people who have had their drink spiked at around 5 percent. And yet, despite this relatively low percentage of actual rapes, the act of spiking of drinks seems to happen depressingly regularly. Basically, a lot of scumbags are apparently pretty willing to try their luck. I have at least two friends who’ve had to be carried into taxis from nice bars with pizza ovens and seasonal beers because they suddenly blacked out and fell over. Both described the ordeal as overwhelmingly embarrassing because everybody assumed they’d just got super wasted on their own when they said they were going to the bathroom, which really sucks. The quicker you can identify that you’ve been spiked, the sooner you’ll get the serious attention you need. And if that means wiggling your finger in a drink to see what color it turns, so be it. Someone once gave me the advice to stick to the middle of the road if you’re walking down a quiet dark street because you’ll know immediately if someone’s approaching you. It works (do it). Maybe that strips me of my divine right to walk on the sidewalk, but it doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice in order to be significantly more alert. Obviously in an ideal world the creep who might approach me would have been advised to walk in front of a bus, but until I see a squishy mess of a rapey psychopath under the wheels of my local, I’ll stick to doing whatever the hell I want to feel safe—and so should you. 
26th of August 2014
In the minds of a lot of people, internships connected with preparing coffee and going to the post office. Day by day by day, until the internship is over. An internship at DAA is not about doing the same work every day and when I applied for this EVS I had no idea that I was going to do such a variety of tasks. Yesterday I was taking pictures for our charity shop the whole morning http://designersagainstaids.tictail.com/ and in the afternoon on my To Do list it said: Iron the wedding dress. I don't need to highlight that some of the tasks I like more than others, right? I' m typing this post with my fingers smelling of lavender - actually, everything in our office has the fragrance of this lovely flower right now. This morning we received big package of lavender in the mail and because we want all the clothes in our charity shop to smell heavenly, I'm filling small lavender sachets right now. Later this afternoon I am going to sew some small lavender bags from leftover textile fabrics, probably. Who could expect that during my internship I will even upgrade my sewing skills!? It's not just about the office work. It's not. But then, what did I expect from a NGO called Designers against AIDS ;-) ?...  
25th of August 2014
Chinese budget aircraft carrier Spring Airlines refused three travelers after they informed them about their HIV-positive status. Although just two out of three of them were seropositive, in the end all of them had to use the train on their way from Shenyang in the northeast of China to Shijiazhuang, south of Beijing. Three passengers are now sueing Spring Airlines for that reason: they are seeking a compensation of 48,999 yuan and an open apology. According to Chinese law, airlines have a right to deny entry to passengers with infectuous diseases, but Liu Wei - the travelers' lawyer- argued that there was no evidence gathered by the airlines that showed that any of them could infect anyone else during that flight. People with a HIV postive status or with full blown AIDS don't have it easy in China. For example, it's forbidden for them to work in state administration and the long-lasting ban for entrance of HIV positive foreigners to the country was canceled just four years ago.  
19th of August 2014
Seven year old Charlotte Benjamin pointed out a major fault that Lego made with its dolls: "I don't like that there are more Lego boys and hardly any Lego girls," she wrote in the letter that she sent to The Lego Group earlier this year. "Today I went to a store and saw Lego in two sections, the pink (girls) and the blue (boys). All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach and shop and they didn't have a job, but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people and had jobs - they even swam with sharks! I want you to make more Lego girls and let them go on adventures and have fun, OK!?!"   The company had a gratifying response for Charlotte: at the beginning of August the toymaker came out with its first model set featuring female scientists. The three tiny plastic figures - a paleontologist, an astronomer and a chemist- were designed by a real scientist, geoscientist Ellen Kooijman, who created a research institute on a Lego Idea Platform which allows anyone to share their concepts and collect online supporters. Women scientists toys pleased young girls, but also teachers and psychologists, who believe that toys like this could help young girls to imagine themselves in that role and that these toys can convince more women to choose the field of science in the future.  
18th of August 2014
Young designer Anna Marešová created a set of sex toys which are so beautiful that you won't hide them in your bedside table's drawer. These sex toys, which are perfect combination of quality material, hygiene, function and purity of form were even awarded with the National Prize of Students Design. The final products were created after a long discussion with experts in the fields of gynaecology, sexuology, technology and gender studies and are also based on a lot of questionnaires - in which she found out that most people want a stylish supplement instead of trashy objects. For now you can buy love balls, which can be used for pleasure but also for training the pelvic floor muscles. This intimate fitness equipment is produced in two colours - pure white and passionate red.Vibrators from this series should become available next year and for the love egg we have to wait two years. The Design Prize for her sex toys wasn't Anna's first success: she won the same prize 2 years ago for her draft of a new Prague Tram. She's a really versatile girl!  
14th of August 2014
I went on my first vacation I before I was born, when my mother was sixth months pregnant. Since I was three years old, my parents started to discover my beautiful country together with me. Thanks to all the travel in my childhood traveling became an important part of my life and I am missing something in my life if I don't travel.   When I got to know my country well, I started to travel abroad. On the day of my 18th birthday I promised myself that before I turn 50 I will visit at least 50 countries. Now I am in the middle of my quest, and it's going really slow. Because I must admit that I'm not a fan of that quick-picture/look-at-them-at-home touristic thing. No, I think that the most amazing way of traveling is to stay in one country for at least two months and explore the mentality, customs, tradition and try their way of life. An opportunity to explore the world like this is offered by the Erasmus + program of the European Union. They have several projects of nonformal education, so you can be sure that except nice memories you will bring back something extra. One of their most famous programs is European Voluntary Service(EVS). You can choose your EVS according to your preferences and future plans. Would you rather learn English in a Turkish kindergarten, organize cultural events in Armenia or work on a farm in the Netherlands? Or maybe you would like to become another volunteer at DAA in Antwerp, Belgium?   What's more, you can be sure that if you say to locals that you're not a tourist but a volunteer in their country, they will treat you like a member of their family. Volunteering is not just about altruism, you can be sure that you will get much more back.  
13th of August 2014
For most children who behave a little bit different than their peers, summer camps are not their dream holiday but more like a nightmare. Only few summer camps offer an environment for non gender-conforming children, where no one has to look over their shoulders and everybody is free to express themselves. One of the most famous camps of this type is a summer camp known under the nickname "You are you", which became famous thanks to New York photographer Lindsay Morris who captured the children with images of their self-expression.   The camp, founded by parents, is so informal that it moves from one part of the US to another, depending on where the parents can rent a space for it. It's not just for boys from 3 years old and up, but also for their parents and siblings, who help to create a friendly environment. The main event of this camp is the Talent Show Night, for which some children practice all year long and a Fancy Night, for which they can dress up any way they like, even in high heels, an evening gown, full make-up and anything else in 'girlish' colours and glitter.   Getting the exact number of kids of a non conforming gender is not easy; according to the education and advocacy group 'Gender Spectrum' 1 in 500 children is significantly gender nonconforming or transgender.   It doesn't matter how these kids will identify themselves in the future, what matters is that they can find a place where they feel free to express themselves right now. Photo: Lindsay Morris
12th of August 2014
Did you miss Antwerp Pride? If so, you can be sure that you missed one of the best open-air parties in the city. Those who were there know what I'm talking about. It was huge, it was friendly and it was very colourful. The LGBT community definitely showed its best side! The main event of the rainbow week, the Antwerp Pride Parade, started next to Waterpoort in Antwerp's trendy South district and ended in front of the city's prettiest castle, Het Steen. On this route many, many people showed up to share their support, including Jewish and Arab families, senior couples and even Antwerp's vice mayor Philip Heylen, who walked in front of the parade, helping to carry the huge rainbow flag.     A sign that the City of Antwerp is open-minded wasn't just the attendance of its vice mayor on this event - the Antwerp police even took their part in the parade - and in doing so, broke the links between police and bullying of the LGBT community, that is still such a huge issue in many countries all over the world. In their 'Rainbows Cops' T-shirts and 'Diversiteit' police truck they were really present.           After the parade, different parties all over town continued until the early morning. If you missed this event, there are still more Pride events all over Europe coming up. You can visit Prague Pride on Saturday August 16 - and explore my beautiful country. Or maybe the last August weekend suits you better? Then you have the chance to visit Pride in Leicester (UK) or Copenhagen (Denmark). Party on & keep safe!  
11th of August 2014
Yesterday the seventh edition of the Antwerp Pride took place in Antwerp. This is a free event that defends the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders. Antwerp was colored with rainbow flags and smiling faces. The Antwerp Pride does not only stand for party and entertainment, they also want to draw the attention to the international situation regarding gay rights. So not only performances were given, but also activists from Cameroon and Russia talked about the problems in their countries. The police in Antwerp sent a delegation along in the procession this year as a symbolic signal because in many countries the police are still linked to violence against the LGBT community. The performance where everyone looked most forward to took place on Sunday evening and was given by the Austrian Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst. The bearded transvestite closed the Antwerp Pride in style, though the performance was interrupted for half an hour by the heavy rainfall. But this did not stop the 3500 fans, who waited patiently. The guys on the photo couldn’t pass Conchita without taking a selfie with him (well, in fact this is a Conchita impersonator) and let's be honest, a picture with such an icon is quite awesome!   Muss da noch Wurst sein? Ja, bitte! Post written by Aline Elsermans 
8th of August 2014
Since early morning the atmosphere in the DAA center has been really special. Not only because it's the birthday of our beloved Jean-Yves- Happy Birthday!!! In the afternoon a film crew from Eastpak Artist Studio knocked on our door. Before, I had known Eastpak just for their famous backpacks, but I found out that they also have a project called Eastpak Artist Studio, that offers a platform for established and up-and-coming artists to use their creativity to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS amongst young people. Of course I don't have to highlight that they cooperate with DAA. They made an interview with Ninette about DAA, its mother organization Beauty without Irony (which is a creative platform for social change)and our Education Center. I can't help myself and I had to listen to them. And I was so proud of her! She really opened her heart and shone bright like a diamond! And what's more- she was even filmed with a drone, walking outside in the street! Some neighbours came out of their front door to see what that buzzing noise was about, it sounds like a whole nest of loud bees. The video crew is off to film more designers and artists now all over the world and I can't wait to see that video! Are you curious what was she's speaking about and how it looks like in our home? Watch this space as we'll be telling you all about it once it's out.
5th of August 2014
Someone with the nickname "Pumpkaboo" from Pokémon became the proud new owner of a rainbow-patterned PlayStation 4. In the auction by Swedish retailer Webhalle he paid more than 10 times the US retail price of a classic PS4. Thanks to him, more than 4100 dollar will be donated to the RSFL Newcomers network, a branch of the Swedish Federation for LGBT and Queer Rights which aims to help LGBTQ refugees and migrants. Retailer Webhallen started the 'Sony GayStation 4' auction at the end of July, during the Stockholm Gay Pride week. They promoted the project with these words:"For many young people, the world of games will become a refuge to escape the taunting, or worse, of real life. On Webhallen, we are gamers in heart and mind and are keen that as many as possible have the opportunity to feel welcome and enjoy the world's largest and fastest growing interest: video games."   We at DAA wonder if there will be a commercial version of this colourful Playstation- would you buy it?  
4th of August 2014
In my first days here, Ninette and Jean-Yves told me that one day I would have to do the inventory of the DAA stock and archive - and today that day has come! To be honest, it won't be the favourite part of my EVS experience, but on the other hand it's really interesting to look at everything that has been done with and for DAA for previous campaigns. I didn't have an idea about how many famous people have cooperated with DAA for instance and how many creative campaigns have been done already. And what I really enjoy is messing with all those amazing clothes! Glittery blazers, psychedelic patterned shirts or golden bermudas? We have it all! I'm really curious if I will enjoy this task just as much in the next couple of days, or if all those orange overalls and slogan T-shirts will become my biggest nightmare. My mission in counting the DAA stock and archive will not be finished very soon, so wish me luck! P.S. If you want to make this quest easier for the next interns, please buy as many DAA clothes as you can. He or she will definitely appreciate that.  
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IHAEC blog

Enter the student's territory and follow the days of their lives at DAA's International HIV/AIDS Awareness Education Center (IHAEC).
On this page the students of the Education Center will tell you everything about their stay at DAA, from the things they learn and the campaigns they create to what they have for breakfast, this blog will be their online diary: an opportunity for them to share their experiences and to give you a sneak peak into the life at DAA IHAEC.
Enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

 

 

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