We are all familiar with chastity belts, we know what they are at least. Chastity belts were originally designed to prevent adultery and masturbation. However, a third reason, the prevention of rape, may have been offered as well. Today there is new device designed to prevent rape. It’s called ‘Rape-aXe.’ Rape-aXe is designed to be worn like the female condom and is allegedly very discreet. When an attacker attempts to insert his penis will be captured by this device via sharp barbs. These barbs will not come out except through surgical methods. This will of course alert medical staff that their patient is a rapist and the police can then be made aware. The device was designed by Sonnet Ehlers, a South African woman who came up with the idea after a victim told her that she wished she ‘had teeth down there.’
This device has been controversial and has received much criticism.
Many say that the device is barbaric (Ehlers response to this is that it is a medieval device ‘for a medieval deed.) Some argue that the device could be used for revenge. The device could be ‘triggered’ prior to penile-vaginal intercourse, via an object. Perhaps the biggest critique, however, is that it could lead to increased violence by perpetrators.
This is device doesn’t prevent rape in any significant way. The risk of increased violence is all too real as well. True prevention seeks to prevent crime before it occurs. If we are to be serious about preventing sexual and intimate partner violence, than we are going to need to take more radical steps. This means challenging our rape culture, something this device cannot do. I would even argue that this device promotes rape culture actually. It is designed for use by women, not men, and thus portrays women as victims and men as perpetrators. We know that men rape women in overwhelming numbers, but men also rape other men and women rape men and other women too. This device isn’t helpful to non-heterosexual rape. We need to change the culture that allows (and encourages) this kind of violence to continue, not create devices designed for the eventuality of violence.