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GW student turns a scary experience abroad into a tool that can help others

Posted: 4:15 PM, Apr 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-19 16:15:55-04

NEW YORK—Danya Sherman is an a student at George Washington University.

"There is a quote that’s on my desk that I live by and that I run my company by. It says I don’t understand why someone didn’t do something about it and then I realized I am someone," Sherman quoted.

Someone who turned her personal experience into a tool to empower a generation of women.

"In the summer of 2016 I was studying abroad in Spain. I was drugged and exploited by a friend, or a gentleman I considered a friend, and it was only upon returning to the states and sharing my story with friends that I realized I was not alone," Sherman explained.

So Danya took action .

"The issue of drug facilitated assault and sexual violence as a whole is extremely under championed. I knew I needed to do something about the issue," Sherman said.

She developed a product that detects date rape drugs in drinks.

"I knew I wanted to create a tool to empower individuals women and men alike in social settings. I went into social settings and observed how individuals interacted with each other and found three commonalities in the majority of social settings there were college and dating age individuals , alcohol and beverages and napkins. So I didn’t want to change consumer behavior and I said I want to create a product that I can integrate into one of these three and the napkin just stuck," Sherman said.

And Knonap was born.

This creative entrepreneur has launched a kick-starter campaign to get her product to the market and her long term goal is to partner with universities and work with bars.

Here is how it works.

"All the individual has to do is take a drop of their drink place it on the white loading area of the napkin and if there is a drug presence there will be a color change in the yellow viewing area of the napkin," Sherman demonstrated.

But what motivates this college student is not all about the end product.

"I have been humbled along the way to speak with victims about their experiences and that’s what really keeps me motivated," Sherman reflected.

Danya’s message to other young women who want to make a difference and create change:

Do what you love.

"I say that I fell in love with Knonap's mission. I didn’t fall in love with Knonaps product. And our mission is to empower, educate and advocate against drug facilitated sexual assault and crimes," Sherman stated.

For more information on Knonaps, click here.