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Apr. 13 2010 - 11:18 pm | 20,956 views | 0 recommendations | 7 comments

Spiked Anti-rape Condom Could Debut Soon in South Africa

Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that the first anti-rape condom, called Rape-aXe, could make its debut in South Africa just prior to the start of the World Cup.

South African doctor Sonnet Ehlers developed the condom five years ago and says it’s now ready for widespread use, though it has never been tested. She wants to give away 30,000 of them.

Here’s how it works: A woman inserts the condom herself, and when her attacker penetrates, his penis is impaled by tiny spikes. The spikes don’t draw blood but do cause incredible pain if the man tries to take off the condom. The condom can only be removed in a hospital, where the rapist can immediately be arrested.

South Africa is the perfect testing ground for Rape-aXe, considering that one out of every four South African men say they have raped a woman.  Half of those men also admit to multiple rapes, and many say they’ve participated in gang rapes. (BBC News, June 2009)

The obvious problem with the condom is that the rapist could become even more violent once he realizes that he can’t remove it without ripping the skin off his penis. On the other hand, he might panic and try to pull it off anyway, in which case he’d denude himself–probably the best outcome anyone could hope for.

Click here to see photos of Dr. Ehlers demonstrating how the Rape-aXe impales the perp’s penis.


7 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    I appreciate the idea and innovation meant to help protect ladies from abuse. A fellow NGO worker and I have talked through this and we have a few thoughts. First, at the point this condom may help the woman, she has already been violated. Second, the condom’s pain may make the aggressor angry and he may retaliate by physically abusing the woman (as mentioned in the article). Third, (sorry to be explicit) not all rape is vaginal so this only protects against a very specific type of violation.

    Also, would there be any adverse health affects or discomfort from using this all the time, if so, that would deter use?

    Would mace or pepper spray be an equally successful deterrent?

    • collapse expand

      Is the NGO solution for rape in Africa really to tell millions of women to carry mace?

      1) Mace and pepper spray only distract them so that you can run.
      2) If they know you, they can return and find you and kill or rape you later.
      3) Mace and pepper spray have to be carried, removed, and activated. They may not always be accessible, and they can be easily overpowered.
      4) You can’t wrest the condom from the victim.
      5) The condom might make a guy angry, but that anger will not overcome the fear, shock, and pain.
      6) Nothing prevents you from using the condom AND carrying pepper spray.
      Yes, the condom requires the victim to be violated but:
      7) It protects you from HIV. Does pepper spray do that?
      8) In some cases, your only chance to retrieve and effectively use your pepper spray is while your attacker is already violating you.
      9) The condom, in and of itself, should be sufficient to convict someone of rape.

      It is notoriously difficult for women to testify against men in African courts. (Historically, 2 women were often needed to equal the testimony of 1 man…thus rape’s de facto legality.) Do you believe African police break out the rape kit every time a woman cries “rape,” take statements, interview witnesses, and collect physical evidence? They don’t even do that in AMERICA. 90% of that process would become unnecessary if a man walked into a hospital to have the condom removed.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Goddammit, that smiley face (with shades) is automatically created when you put a right parenthesis after the number 8. Hopefully #’s 1-9 make that clear in context.

        I’m really not that callous, shallow, or crass unlike, say, the advertisers pinging this post.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    I think this is the first of it’s kind! I applaud Ehlers! One thing bothers me though…..I fear the pain will enrage the rapist and cause him to beat or murder his victim.
    Personally, I think the device should break the skin and administer a lethal or crippling dose of poison.

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    I’m a freelance writer, blogger and research wonk who writes about science, technology and the cultural ripples of both. Along my winding career route I've been a public outreach specialist, editor, research analyst, proposal writer and part-time journo. When I’m not writing for True/Slant, I’m blogging about neuroscience and a medley of ‘ologies’ at Neuronarrative.com, and writing freelance for Scientific American Mind.

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