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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dentata Deterrent?

To any men made uncomfortable in the shorts by yesterday's entry about vagina dentata — my apologies, because it's only going to get worse.

Img_1845jpgA reader dropped me an email about a product in development in South Africa called Rapex: The Anti-rape Condom. The device is fashioned like the female condom and is inserted into the vagina with an applicator (like a tampon). If a penis enters a vagina while Rapex is inserted, the product latches onto the intruding penis by microscopic barbs causing severe pain — and hopefully giving the victim enough time to escape. The barbs can only be removed successfully with surgery, alerting hospital staff and police.

South African blood technician Sonet Ehlers invented Rapex, and as you might imagine, she and her product are being intensely criticized. Opponents of the product say it would be better to have a visible deterrent, rather than a hidden device that is "vengeful" and "medieval." To her opponents, Ehlers says on her website, "A medieval device for a medieval deed." If production and distribution of Rapex moves forward, opponents also fear that women will use it to frame or injure unsuspecting men — ouch!

Above all else, education, enforcement and community involvement are the best rape deterrents — but what's to be done when these efforts fail women (especially in countries with astronomical rape statistics)? What do you think — is Rapex going too far? Take the poll and leave a comment.

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