The other news from South Africa– preventing rape

Yes, most of the news from South Africa these days is about the World Cup– admittedly, I have been following.  S has been amused that for once the US is interested in soccer even if those cheering at the bar yesterday (US vs. Ghana) clearly did not know our players names or, often, the rules of the game. Still, it is exciting that Americans car at all.

However, today, I want to talk about another piece of news from South Africa: the rape condom.  Have no idea what I am talking about? Here it is:

Still not clear? Here is what the BBC had to say:

A South African doctor has invented a device that she says will help reduce the number of rapes and ensure that culprits are caught.

Dr Sonnette Ehlers spent 40 years and over 1m rand ($135,000) developing the Rape-aXe, a female condom with ‘teeth’.

She sold her house and car to fund the project.

According to Human Rights Watch, South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world.

Click on the link to hear a short piece. Still confused?  Basically, this female condom has teeth.  If a man has sex with a woman while she is wearing it, the teeth within the condom latch on to his penis, making it impossible to urinate or flee.  The doctor also says that any attempts at removal will result in the condom latching on even tighter.

So, what do you think?

My first thought was to wonder if this puts the woman at risk of being killed.  My second thought is that it is unlikely to attack an innocent man.  Don’t rape, don’t have your penis caught in this contraption. My final thought was about how systemic rape is in South Africa and how sad it is that increased rape and prostitution go hand in hand with the World Cup (and Olympics and conventions of political parties in the US and so many other events).



  1. thats funny S thought that…. because i keep thinking the same thing while watching the games with chileans here. the stereotype is that everybody is so into soccer, but judging by the stuff everybody shouts out during the games… clearly many people have no concept of strategy or the rules.

    i’ve read a bunch about the contraption with teeth before. I’m wondering if you said you said you worry if it puts the woman at risk of being killed for the same reason, because i worry that this thing would anger someone so much that he would be violent towards the woman. i think the best you could expect is that the pain is so distracting or disabling that the woman has time to escape. though, great intentions and a clever idea overall

  2. I heard about that on the news. I think it’s a good idea, but in the end the woman would still have to be raped for it to work which is not the desired outcome. However, I like the thought that the man cannot get it off without the help of a doctor and he would be in EXTREME pain. Good. He would deserve to be. I don’t think it’s the answer, or solution, but it might be one measure. An unfortunate measure.

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