A Condom That Protects Against STDs, Unwanted Pregnancy, and Covers Your Penis in Tiny, Razor-Sharp Barbs
Posted by Daphne Shum on October 8, 2008
In 2005, South African blood technician Sonnet Ehlers invented the anti-rape female condom. Worn in the vagina like a tampon, the device immobilises the attacker by attaching razor-sharp barbs to the penis during the act of vaginal rape. The barbs can only be removed via surgery, effectively identifying the surgical patient as a rapist to health authorities.
Evocatively named Rape-aXe, Ehlers insists its purpose is less to inflict suffering upon rapists than to buy victims crucial time to escape their attackers. Furthermore, the device protects wearers against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
There has been scant literature and debate surrounding this fascinating invention, and many questions unanswered regarding its effectiveness, accessibility, cost, and potential for misuse. Some have condemned the invention as a man-hating instrument of torture, a criticism Ehlers succinctly addresses by suggesting it is a “a medieval device for a medieval deed.”
Although Rape-aXe cannot protect against all forms of rape – it can only prevent further rape after an initial act of vaginal rape has already occurred, we should address its potential for empowering certain women, such as those living in areas with high rates of crime, or potential victims of war rape.
I am surprised and disappointed that this device has not received greater coverage in the popular media. If Rape-aXe became widely available, I wonder if its users would be lauded for taking a stand in self-preservation, or accused of sadism.