A South African Woman Invented An Anti-Rape Device
After meeting a lot of rape victims, Sonette Ehlers was inspired to create an anti-rape device that could save many women.
Sonnet Ehlers/Bryant has worked as a blood technician and medical researcher since 1967 in South Africa. There, according to studies, 1 in 4 women have been raped in their lifetime.
Here's what she writes on the official website of Rape-Axe, the anti-rape device she has designed.
"Crime statistics released by the South African Police Service in 2013 suggest that rape is grossly underreported. For decades, I have witnessed the reality of these grim statistics first-hand while treating survivors of this unspeakable act.
While the incidence of rape is extremely high in South Africa, it is not an exception.Â Somewhere in the United States of America, a woman is raped every 98 seconds. The United Nations recognizes that sexual violence is a severely underreported crime and that similar statistics can be found globally. As rape statistics climb to staggering rates and victims continue to be overlooked by justice systems around the world, a radical response to sexual violence is needed.
It was a patient who prompted me to pursue such a response early in my career. Late one night in 1969, I was tending to a woman who had just survived an attack when she left me with words I would never forget.
Shaking in terror with tears running down her face, she said:
"If only I had teeth down there."
I pledged to her that one day, I would do something to help others in her situation. Now several decades later, I intend to fulfill this promise by transforming her idea into a device designed to give women a stronger chance at escaping sexual assault and bring their attackers to justice.
The device called Rape-aXe is a female latex condom embedded with shafts of sharp, inward-facing barbs. If an attacker tries to rape the woman wearing it, the device will cause him excruciating pain, giving the victim a chance to escape. The device could only be removed from the attacker surgically, meaning that he would need to go to a hospital, and police would be alerted.
Rape-aXe was unveiled in 2005 in South Africa, and at the time, it was implied that mass production would begin in 2007. However, the device has never been marketed to the public and it remains unclear if or when the product will be available for purchase.
Ehler's invention has received many objections, with many describing it as "vengeful, horrible, and disgusting". Others have said its use could enrage the attacker even more, jeopardizing the victim. Ehlers responded saying that 'many women have been killed over time, as nobody can guarantee the outcome of any rape' and that the pain caused from Rape-aXe will temporarily disable the attacker, giving the victim time to escape.
For now, research and development are moving forward.
"We have conducted multiple rounds of development with prototype tooling and we have created functioning samples for customer evaluation and testing. Now, improvements need to be implemented before Rape-aXe can be made available to the general public."
What do you think about this device?