Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Anti-rape condom aims to stop sexual assaults
South African inventor creates 'rapex' device fitted with hooks and barbs


KLEINMOND, South Africa - A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker’s penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.

“Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time,” Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex," a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.

Police statistics show more than 50,000 rapes are reported every year, while experts say the real figure could be four times that as they say most rapes of acquaintances or children are never reported.

Ehlers said the “rapex” hooks onto the rapist’s skin, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators.

“He will obviously be too preoccupied at this stage,” Ehlers told reporters in Kleinmond, a small village about 60 miles east of Cape Town. “I promise you he is going to be too sore. He will go straight to hospital.”

The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said.

It also reduces the chances of a woman falling pregnant or contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from the attacker by acting in the same way as a female condom.

South Africa has more people with HIV/AIDS than any other country, with one in nine of its 45 million population infected.

Ehlers, who showed off a prototype on Wednesday, said women had tried it for comfort and it had been tested on a plastic male model but not yet on a live man. Production was planned to start next year.

But the “rapex” has raised fears amongst anti-rape activists that it could escalate violence against women.

“If a victim is wearing such a device it may enrage the attacker further and possibly result in more harm being caused,” said Sam Waterhouse, advocacy coordinator for Rape Crisis.

Other critics say the condom is medieval and barbaric — an accusation Ehlers says should be directed rather at the act of rape.

“This is not about vengeance ... but the deed, that is what I hate,” she said.

I am not fully supportive of this device. The only positive thing about this flawed barbed condom is that it would possibly protect you from contracting an STD, especially HIV. It DOES NOT protect your from being raped

I agree with Sam Waterhouse that it may increase the violent behaviour of a rapist. Once "bitten" he may strike out and severely injure or perhaps kill the victim in a fit of rage. I won't claim to know how a rapists mind works, or even if I want to for that matter, but I am fairly confident that they may attack the victim with such fervor to render them incapacitated...

This contraption is not a preventative method for rape - a woman would have to be penetrated for it to be of any use, therefore they would already have suffered violation and immense terror prior to the Rapex being effective thus not limiting or reducing the impact of such an assault.

It is not a practical rape repellent. Personally, as a survivor of rape I would still not insert this contraption and wear it continuously inside and outside of my home. Statistically, most rapists are someone you already know, so in order for this device to be effective it would have to be "worn" twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. On a a lighter more sillier note, I don't think this would be a hygienic approach...

It is a rather ingenious concept, but not one that in my opinion is practical.

Something more practical is pepper spray, taser, whistle and self defence classes. If we are trying to prevent rape, we should PREVENT it.

It's a damned if I do, damned if I don't type of device...

Now don't get me wrong either, I'd absolutely enjoy inflicting excruciating pain on any rapist, but that's not the point here...


The Missing Link said...

yikes... i cant believe someone actually invented this! maybe this is something else i should pack when i confront that fucker...

jumpinginpuddles said...

dont know if we could wear one either, but then again who knows right now no but maybe later on yes thanks for the info

Revolutionary Blogger said...

keep in mind though..."50%" of women in South Africa are raped at some stage in their lives....Rapex is definetely needed in a place like South Africa.

survivor said...

thats true Rev.. thanks for pointing that out!

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny how much controversy this device received. Of course the woman is going to try and fight off an attacker any way she can. But (as far too many of us have found out) sometimes those efforts are just not enough. It's just a last resort - if you've done everything in your power to get the *#%@* away from you, there's one more tool that might save you. Yes, the trauma of being entered even once is unspeakable. But if you can prevent being entered several times, I think it's worth a try. I personally wish I'd had one a couple times in my life.

I've heard some people say they think this device is cruel and inhumane. Hearing that said made me angrier than the actual assault itself. A guy attacks a woman and refuses to get off when she is clearly doing everything in her power to stop it... He deserves even worse in my mind.