Monday, June 28, 2010

Why Rape-aXe Bites

So by now you may have heard of Rape-aXe, which is basically a female condom with piercing hooks in it removable "only by doctors" who, it is assumed, will automatically turn in to police all patients bearing them.

So, an "anti rape" device that literally requires me to be raped in order to exact physical punishment on a rapist? Gee thanks, Ms. Ehlers, I feel "empowered" now.

Of course, this device doesn't guarantee justice, like its inventor suggests. That would assume that:

1- Said rapist actually went to a doctor to have it removed,
2- Said doctor actually reported him, and
3- Said justice system actually arrests, tries, convicts, and properly sentences said rapist.

And we all know that this, in theory, should happen everywhere. But we also know how rarely, in practice, it actually does.

On a related note, it's always extra disappointing when fellow women perpetuate rape culture by putting the onus to prevent rape on the victims.


Cessen said...

Not to mention that if they were actually widely deployed it would be self-defeating anyway, since rapists would just learn to check for them.

As a guy I also have a slight unease with the idea that an actual consenting partner might forget that she has one in. This has happened on a couple of occasions with tampons with a previous partner of mine. With a tampon it's just amusing, and we laugh together about it.

Probably rape-axe would be harder to forget about for a variety of reasons, so perhaps my unease is unjustified. But still.

Benny said...

I guess I'm not too cynical about its intentions... but yeah. It puts the onus of prevention on women, and I imagine that on account of the effort it requires, its psychological effect will be similar to that of bulletproof vests: it will remind its wearers that they are always targets.

Phillip said...

I agree with some of what you've said, but I don't think you're being fair in context.

This is a product invented in South Africa, where rape is a much, much larger problem. Giving women a tool of self-defense to deal with an existing problem does not equate to perpetuating that problem. Why shouldn't rape culture be attacked practically as well as culturally? It's going to be a long time before rape culture is eradicated from Africa.

That said, I don't think the Rape-aXe is a good idea. It sounds like it doesn't put the man in enough pain to prevent further violence, and gang rape is a serious problem in South Africa. It can only stop one rapist at a time.

Marie said...

All excellent points, gentlemen.

Philip: I understand that we're talking about a whole other context than the US one I live in and that rape is unfortunately a far more severe problem in South Africa. On the same note, I completely agree that something practical has to be done. But I feel that this requires an actually practical and effective anti-rape plan and I have too many doubts about Rape-aXe to believe it would be that effective at delivering the results its inventor hopes for. Her intentions are noble, I just hope she comes up with a better idea in the future.

Also, I think you may be confusing the term 'rape culture' with 'culture in which rape occurs.' This is not what is meant by the term 'rape culture.' Here is a good link to a quality explanation of the term:

Women Leather Blazer said...

nice post love reading it.