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Researchers built a smart dress to show how often women are groped at clubs

Turns out women face a ton of unwanted touching.
Jon Nazca/Reuters
Turns out women face a ton of unwanted touching.
By Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

For a campaign on behalf of beverage company Schweppes, advertising agency Ogilvy created a touch-sensitive dress that tracked how often—and with what degree of intensity—women in Brazil were groped on an average night out. The goal was to elevate the issue to men, who expressed in preliminary interviews that harassment was not a major issue for club-going women.

For the project, titled “The Dress for Respect,” researchers built a dress embedded with sensor technology that tracked touch and pressure. The information was then relayed to a visual system so that researchers could essentially track harassment in real time.

To test the dress, researchers sent three women to a party wearing it. Throughout the night, we see a heat-map version of it steadily light up in the areas where the women are being grabbed: mostly the lower back, backside, and arms. The visual is imposed over footage of the women brushing off the men and asking not to be touched.

In just under four hours, the women are touched a combined 157 times.

Later, men from the party are brought in to review the experiment. For the most part, they express shock and surprise at the now-bruised image of the dress.

Watch the entire experiment here:

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