Tuesday, November 13, 2007
South African Sonette Ehlers is taking women's defense in a new direction - vaginally. The former medical technician has developed Rapex, a version of the female condom that is beefed up with teeth to stop would be rapists, or at least to slow them down enough for intended victims to get away. My first thought: won't the rapists be angrier, and find some other way to hurt these women? After all, it causes no lasting damage - seems like it'll be more likely to piss them off. And as Kira Cochran of the Guardian points out, "it places the onus for stopping rape not on the perpetrators, but on women - entirely the wrong way around. It implies that rape is an inevitable part of human culture and that women need to adapt accordingly." Some have even claimed that using the device is just an act of vengeance toward the rapists.
I'm sorry, say that again? Maybe it's just an old eye-for-an-eye judgment on my part, but I think rapists deserve much worse than a few pricks that aren't permanent (excuse the pun). The fact is rape is all too common in South Africa (and many other places, too) - perhaps it will anger the would-be rapists, but it seems better to have some chance of getting away than none at all. Is it just a bandaid slapped on a larger problem? Of course it is, but someone please explain to me how we ought to go about changing the way a rapist's brain works so we can stop him from hurting women. And then make sure to change all rapists' brains. I think it's more empowering for women to have some option of defense.
And I think the teeth should be bigger.