This Hurts Just Reading About It
August 31, 2005 2:53 PM   Subscribe

Rapex, the anti-rape female condom (Reuters link)
The invention of a South African woman, the rapex anti-rape female condom (worn like a tampon) has sharp barbs in it that lock into the rapist's penis and need to be removed surgically which makes it pretty easy to notify the police. Opponents are, understandably, concerned about an escalation of violence against the rape victim.
Rape statistics are sobering and saddening with some estimates that women, children and even babies are raped every 26 seconds in South Africa though Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, has refuted the findings. Virgins are highly sought for rape as there is an urban myth that sex with a virgin will cure HIV/AIDS.
posted by fenriq (59 comments total)
vigiana dentata? is that the phrase?
posted by tiamat at 2:58 PM on August 31, 2005

1- Didn't we discuss this at least twice already?

2- Wouldn't this just lead to a potentially-HIV-positive rapist bleeding right into his victim?
posted by clevershark at 3:00 PM on August 31, 2005

That and a good solid stabby-matic should do the trick.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:00 PM on August 31, 2005

1. how does the woman keep from being cut?
2. its not like its the first time ive heard of baby rape, but my brain still won't comprehend and refuses to believe it.
3. maybe it can have a tranquilizer on the end that gets into the rapists bloodstream and kocks them out.
posted by ackeber at 3:03 PM on August 31, 2005

ackeber, as to "3" that's exactly what they had in the novel
"...a very small hypodermic needle slipped imperceptibly into the engorged frontal vein of his penis, automatically shooting a cocktail of powerful narcotics and depressants into his bloodstream."
Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson
posted by tiamat at 3:07 PM on August 31, 2005

vigiana dentata

I'm not sure if its what you're referring to, but Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash features a device very much like this (the book one also injects the blood-engorged organ with a sedative). Anything that moves us closer to the world of Snow Crash is automatically a cool but bad thing.
posted by gsteff at 3:09 PM on August 31, 2005

posted by gsteff at 3:10 PM on August 31, 2005

Clevershark, I couldn't find any references to any anti-rape devices in the archives.

I'd imagine the condom part would keep leakage from getting into the victim.

ackeber, the barbs face inward, not outward as far as I can tell. That tranq idea is actually a pretty good one. Or maybe a tranq with an anti-viagra?
posted by fenriq at 3:11 PM on August 31, 2005

Get AIDS, or get killed. Hmmm, what is the advantage here?
posted by caddis at 3:12 PM on August 31, 2005

I can't find the post on Rapex, but there was one in the last couple of months, as well as this one.
posted by Specklet at 3:15 PM on August 31, 2005

I would imagine that this would work eventually as a very effective deterrent. Any temptation to rape someone has got to vanish quickly at the thought of encountering one of these contraptions.
posted by ReggieNoble2 at 3:21 PM on August 31, 2005

If this ever actually hits the market, eventually there will be a case where someone forgot to remove it before (consensual) sex.
posted by darkness at 3:22 PM on August 31, 2005

vigiana dentata?

It's Vagina Dentata.
posted by Auguris at 3:23 PM on August 31, 2005

previous mefi post on a simalar idea, but then it was only in theory.

(I'm sure there's another one too, that was meant as concept art, but I can't find it)
posted by tiamat at 3:25 PM on August 31, 2005

Well I side with Mr Mbeki, if he's disagreeing with the wording of the 2nd last sentence in the FPP.
posted by peacay at 3:27 PM on August 31, 2005

darkness, I'll say what I said in the previous thread: I have never ever forgotten exactly what was in my cunt.

tiamat, check out my link above.
posted by Specklet at 3:35 PM on August 31, 2005

Well, the FemDefence post didn't link to an actual device. The site it linked to depicted a hypothetical invention as part of a rape awareness campaign. So, since this post links to something that actually exists now, it's not really a double-post. Unfortunately, I think that we probably could just copy and paste the whole previous thread here because the discussion is likely to be pretty similar.

But anyway, since that other thread is closed...
If rape prevention takes the path of harming individual rapists (which is fine by me) instead of combating rape on a social level (which is good thing, too), harming the attacker's member might not be very effective. Like many have said before, I'm afraid that sharp barbs might endanger the victim by way of misuse of the device as well as by way of the attackers rage.
Perhaps confiscating rather than piercing might be a more effective method. Although it might result is a slightly bulkier apparatus, a rape deterrent that involves sharp, quick moving blades that removes the member and prevents its retrieval by the attacker might cause much more debilitating shock and pain than the piercing method that seems to be preferred.
posted by Jon-o at 3:35 PM on August 31, 2005

There's something about South Africa and crime deterrents...
posted by blendor at 3:38 PM on August 31, 2005

By the way, I wonder what this will do for incidences of anal rape.
posted by blendor at 3:40 PM on August 31, 2005

Ah, here's where I saw it before. Thanks, Frisbee Girl.
posted by Specklet at 3:40 PM on August 31, 2005

IIRC there is a huge vessel that runs in and out of the penis... if you cut it off, they could easily die - harsh for a rape in my book.

if the barbs point in, then i assume they get lodged on the pull stroke. As these lodged barbs leave the vagina with the penis, wouldn't the ends hurt her a little too?

also, as the male pulls out, some pressure would be put on the base of the barb as it punctures the penis. I think it'd be easy to harness that pressure to empty small bladders of narcotics/depressants into the penis.

assuming you its totally safe for her, coupled with a supressed attacker, this could totally work.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:43 PM on August 31, 2005

wtf is that "you" doing there?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:45 PM on August 31, 2005

Tryptophan-5ht: "they could easily die - harsh for a rape in my book."

Funny - that would pretty much be the premise of my book.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:48 PM on August 31, 2005

if you cut it off, they could easily die - harsh for a rape in my book.

what in your book would be an appropriate punishment for a man who attacks a helpless woman or child and forces his erect penis into her while she is kicking and screaming and crying, then fucking her while either holding or hitting her, only to leave her possibly diseased or pregnant, and permenantly scared?
posted by ackeber at 4:04 PM on August 31, 2005

ackeber, I'd think a quick bleed out was too lenient for them but then, its a good thing I'm not a real judge, isn't it?
posted by fenriq at 4:10 PM on August 31, 2005

This isn't a judicial punishment, this is a self-defense device. A person is entitled to use deadly force to defend himself or herself from a vicious assault, whether it to be a bullet to the assailant's head, a stab to his neck, or a slashing of his genitals. It might seem harsh, but it may unfortunately be necessary.

A more practical objection to the extreme mutilation devices that have been proposed here is that a lot of bleeding and/or severed body parts in and around the vaginal area is less than hygienic for the rape victim, not to mention potentially traumatizing in itself.
posted by skoosh at 4:21 PM on August 31, 2005

So, somebody tears into your immobile grandma at the care home, and death is harsh? Should the rapist be sent off to a 'rape is bad' conference, or a fine? Maybe a written reprimand?
An organ donation program might be a usage of sorts; but then that might come down to a karma factor.
posted by buzzman at 4:34 PM on August 31, 2005

buzzman: Well, for those of us who are wacky enough to not be keen on the death penalty. then yeah, death is harsh.
posted by kaemaril at 4:44 PM on August 31, 2005

Death - harsh or not - is inevitable. Sexually violent repeat offenders, on the other hand, are somewhat optional. With all due respect to the pacifists, I see no problem with moving up the expiration dates on those who choose to prey on the innocent. Their choice, their consequences.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:52 PM on August 31, 2005

Welp, I guess a rapist on the prowl will be forced to carry the sawed off broom handle to force into his victim first, to make sure all's clear before raping her.

posted by Jezztek at 4:53 PM on August 31, 2005

Just to clarify: killing someone in self-defense for an assault is justifiable. Killing someone as punishment for an assault is not. I find this sort of vengeful bloodlust to be rather distasteful - it's the stuff that lynch mobs are made of. You all remember lynching, right? It's not exactly justice. Oh yes, and in the United States, the victims were often alleged to be rapists.

When wielded by a woman under attack, it's a weapon of self-defense. When wielded by a prison guard, it's an instrument of torture. Call me crazy, but I'm not in favor of torturing people to death, not even really bad people. It degrades all of us.
posted by skoosh at 5:13 PM on August 31, 2005

And the meerkat sings...

Vagina dentata...what a wonderful phrase!
posted by jonp72 at 5:20 PM on August 31, 2005

Seems like this thing might actualy increase the chance of getting HIV.

I wonder if it could be designed to use a sort of glue, rather then little barbs. Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 5:54 PM on August 31, 2005

Death is a harsh punishment for stepping in front of a speeding train, too. That's why it's generally suggested that you not do it.

This is a null point anyway, this death thing. What are the chances, really, of someone dying from a puncture wound to the penis? Should we not allow women to protect themselves from a violent assault on the extremely off chance that the perp might die? You can die from a taser hit, too.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:59 PM on August 31, 2005

And on second thought, the title of this page: "this hurts just reading about it"? Well, good. Now imagine how it would feel to read about it every 26 seconds.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:01 PM on August 31, 2005

Awesome, lets have a veangance is good thread!!!

The practical issue with this tool is that I would expect it's somewhat uncomfortable to wear, and possibly a bit unsanitary if worn regularly. So the only time it would be worn would be when women have a premeditated fear of being raped. In which case there are possibly other proven mechanisms to try to avoid such a situation.

Oh, and the first accidental misuse (probably drunken casual sex) is going to be funny, except for the participants.
posted by wilful at 6:03 PM on August 31, 2005

wasnt the atomic bomb invented for these areas?
posted by obeygiant at 6:12 PM on August 31, 2005

The lead comment in the previously mentioned MetaChat discussion cites the following link:

Anti-rape device must be banned, say women

FURIOUS South African women have called for a controversial new anti-rape device, dubbed a “rat trap”, to be banned by the Government. The tampon-like device, invented by a woman, supposedly protects women from rapists by cutting into a man’s penis.

It has sparked an empassioned debate over the high number of rapes committed each day in the country and the authorities’ apparent failure to tackle the issue. Activists are outraged and want to stop it going on sale alongside tampons in chemists and supermarkets next month.

Charlene Smith, a leading anti-rape campaigner, said: “This is a medieval instrument, based on male-hating notions and fundamentally misunderstands the nature of rape and violence against women in this society. It is vengeful, horrible, and disgusting. The woman who invented this needs help.”

Ethnic Chinese women have used chastity belts [images NSFW] for rape protection in Indonesia.
posted by cenoxo at 6:29 PM on August 31, 2005

Personally, I like the bit about it not having been tested on a live man yet.

I bet they won't get many voulenteers.
posted by craven_morhead at 6:35 PM on August 31, 2005

How long will it take a rapist to check for such a device and remove it? Honestly, if these become commonplace it doesn't mean there are going to be rapists walking around with bloodied trousers. It just means rapists are going to check first if such a device is in place.

And they have to be commonplace if they're going to act as a deterrent - that or the potential victim has to make the rapist aware of its presence. After all, I sincerely hope that avoiding or preventing rape is the point, not the injuring of the criminal.
posted by edd at 7:13 PM on August 31, 2005

Somewhere out there, a masochist is saying, "I gotta get one of those things."
posted by fungible at 7:42 PM on August 31, 2005

And they have to be commonplace if they're going to act as a deterrent - that or the potential victim has to make the rapist aware of its presence.

I don't think they have to be commonplace at all. They just have to be widely rumoured to be in use. Anything that makes a rapist second guess this particular activity is a good thing.

After all, I sincerely hope that avoiding or preventing rape is the point, not the injuring of the criminal.

I think it's like those ink-filled tags on clothes. Sure, you can walk out of the store with the shirt. But if you try to take the tag off, everyone is going to know you stole it.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:51 PM on August 31, 2005

I don't think they have to be commonplace at all. They just have to be widely rumoured to be in use. Anything that makes a rapist second guess this particular activity is a good thing.

Except of course it would only take a few seconds to ram something inanimate into the woman to make sure all's clear.

So if it becomes widely rumored it'll just mean rapists have to bring along a probe of some kind. Broom handle, stick, dildo, hell, apparently US soldiers in Abu Gharib have found that their flashlights are useful for illuminating, subduing and raping, so perhaps a heavy duty flashlight will become the new must have item for anyone planning on participating in a night of sexual assault.
posted by Jezztek at 8:03 PM on August 31, 2005

Jezztek: it's simpler than that. There has to be a simple way to remove the things if they're there. The rapist just gets the thing out the same way the woman would.
posted by edd at 8:07 PM on August 31, 2005

From the Times article :

It is a terrifying thought that women are being made to adapt to rape.

Oh man, do I ever agree with that. The idea of walking around with a weapon shoved up my cooch every day for fear of being raped is even worse than just the casual fear of getting raped - it's admitting that it's inevitable rather than just possible.

Also : I can't see how this would ever be used "accidentally." Like Specklet, I have never ever forgotten exactly what was in my cunt. Not even when I was drunk.

(Seems to me that a woman so afraid of rape as to wear a vaginal weapon wouldn't really be the sort to go out, have a few drinks, and then wander home with a gentleman caller. But that's just, like, my opinion, man.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:10 PM on August 31, 2005

The rapist just gets the thing out the same way the woman would.

Which might give a woman just enough time to kick him in the face and get the hell out of there.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:14 PM on August 31, 2005

Death is a harsh punishment for stepping in front of a speeding train, too.

OK, let's say I booby-trap my house like the Berlin Wall's death strip, and some thief enters my house and is shot as a direct result.

Am I going to lose the wrongful-death suit that his relatives bring against me? Probably.

I don't see how this "rapex" is different. If it is used, it's just a matter of time before someone wearing it gets sued.
posted by oaf at 9:10 PM on August 31, 2005

this is sad. most purchasers would tend to be women attempting to stop another rape. (themselves or their children) /weeps
posted by rxreed at 9:49 PM on August 31, 2005

oaf: maybe your scenario would be closer if you booby-traps only triggered when the intruder had his penis halfway in your ass?

I think a jury might let you off in a case like that.
posted by Iax at 10:52 PM on August 31, 2005

grapefruitmoon: exactly my sentiments. It's just crazy. I was wondering how is a woman supposed to use this thing, "wear" it every day everywhere "just in case", like a sort of chastity belt? What a lovely idea. Why not just lock oneself up, surely that's the best "prevention", it's all up to women isn't it.
I don't get what is so anti-rape about it anyway, it's not like it is no longer rape if a rapist is made to feel pain, or like rape is limited to vaginal penetration with a penis.
And one can only imagine the kind of warped uses this could be put to.
I'm glad to hear that women groups in SA are objecting.
posted by funambulist at 12:26 AM on September 1, 2005

This was a hoax the first time, and it's probably a hoax this time too.
posted by aerify at 1:08 AM on September 1, 2005

oaf, that whole suit scenario might happen in the United states but I doubt South African courts and lawyers would have time honor such a dumb suit.

But like aerify says, it's probably a hoax.
posted by dabitch at 2:37 AM on September 1, 2005

(although it is on Reuters..... hmmm.)
posted by dabitch at 2:38 AM on September 1, 2005

A hoax? I find it hard to believe all papers writing about this have been duped, it would have been easy to check. The Times also cites the Johannesburg Star and those who are calling for a ban, is it all just made up?
posted by funambulist at 3:29 AM on September 1, 2005

I don't think this is a hoax.

Seems like a good idea to me. We can talk about "fear of acknowledging the inevitable" or whatever, but talking about how we should be fixing the culture that leads to such widespread rape instead of providing devices like this doesn't change the fact that women are being raped in the meantime.

This is a deterrent. The first few dudes who get this bugger stuck on their cocks are going to serve as an example to all the other bastards who would stick their cock where it doesn't belong. Maybe it won't work properly--maybe rapists will just take it out (though unless you've got friends helping you I dunno how easy it would be to remove a female condom while she's presumably fighting back)--but it doesn't hurt to try. It's not like the woman's going to get bled on--from the looks of it, this latches around the penis like a spiky sheath, so any blood and whatnot is kept inside it.

And damn, how is this "man-hating"? The penis is the principle weapon of rape--by necessity it is the object that's going to be attacked.

I wonder how much objection to this device is not because of the feasibility its function but because of squeamishness aroused by the function itself.
posted by Anonymous at 5:07 AM on September 1, 2005

Gentlemen, be nice to your ladies. She could always claim she told you 'no'...
posted by zarex at 5:57 AM on September 1, 2005

posted by agregoli at 7:15 AM on September 1, 2005

Quote: ... harsh for a rape in my book.

Not harsh enough in my book, especially if it involves babies or young children.
posted by cass at 9:15 AM on September 1, 2005

barbed RFID tags would make it perfect.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:31 PM on September 1, 2005

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