Thursday, September 01, 2005

Anti-Rape Device: She Says, He Says

If there were such a device as a women's condom that could actually "catch"a rapist in the act, would you be for it or against it?

In South Africa, 50,000 rapes are reported to the police every year. Multiply that by 4 for rapes of acquaintances or children that are never reported. Sonette Ehlers, 57, has invented a "rapex" device that a woman (or young girl!) can wear like a tampon. If/when penetrated by a rapist, tiny barbs hook onto the rapist's penis, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators. Besides being terribly painful for the rapist (but not lethal), the only way he can detach the device is by going to the hospital for surgery. In the process, of course, he turns himself in.

Producton is set for next year but, in the meantime, it 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.

So, what do YOU say? Which is worse, inhibiting the rape act itself or the possibility that a deterrent will only cause more violence?

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