A textile design student from Puebla has come up with an innovative response to high levels of violence against women by combining fashion with self-defense: a pair of killer heels.
High-heeled shoes with space to store small canisters of pepper spray inside each 13-centimeter heel are the brainchild of Ditza Arámburo Guttiérez, a recent graduate of the Ibero-American University.
In an interview with the newspaper El Universal, Arámburo explained that her project, called Security Taste, was a reaction both to the reality she and many other women live every day as well as the brief she was given for her thesis project.
“They asked for a design that would help solve a social problem,” she said, adding that women can get the spray out quickly and easily when they need it.
“The pepper spray has . . . a small [piece of] Velcro that sticks to the heel. Both heels have openings in case the woman is right or left-handed [so that] she can take it out in the most accessible way,” the inventor explained.
Puebla, like many other parts of the country, has seen a rise in gender-based violence. In the first nine months of this year there were 83 femicides in the state, according to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).
One of the cases that provoked the greatest outpouring of anger was that of a 19-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted and killed in September by a driver for the ride-hailing service Cabify. A week later, another university student was murdered when she resisted an assault from men who were in a vehicle registered with Uber.
Arámburo, who has also been a victim of violence, believes that her invention might help other women who find themselves in similarly threatening situations.
“It seemed to me that it was one of the best ways to solve the problem . . . if a girl goes to a party or a nightclub she can defend herself with this or if they take a taxi or an Uber . . .” she said.
The academic coordinator of the textile design program at the Ibero-American University said that students are taught that design is a means to solve people’s needs and that project’s such as Arámburo’s are particularly relevant to the situation many young women face.
“In Puebla, there are a lot of young people who are studying and many of them can be vulnerable to some kind of aggression,” Ana Lucía Beldaño Fernández said.
The next step for Arámburo will be to create more models of her original safety-conscious heels before eventually putting them on the market at a price of around 1,000 pesos (US $52).
Source: El Universal (sp)