Back in late 2000 we heard of an anti-rape female tampon created by a South African man, Jaap Haumann. The anti-rape condom was designed to appear like a tampon so that it could be easily inserted into the female. This anti-rape tampon would slice the tip of a man’s penis off if the woman was being raped. This would happen when the spring blade was triggered by pressure, or insertion of the penis. Haumann’s design created lots of controversy within South Africa and was never successfully brought to the market.
Five years later, Dr. Sonnet Ehlers unveiled her anti-rape condom RAPEX in South Africa. The product name presently stands at Rape-aXe due to the European market having a product names RAPEX. In many interviews Dr. Ehlers says her idea was inspired by a patient that had been raped and said “If only I had teeth down there,” this comment sparked the idea of mythical vaginal dentata. Rape-aXe is made with a thick latex component that is inserted into the vagina like a female condom. Inside the condom there are sharp spikes that point inward and latch onto the penis when the rapist tries to exit from the vagina. Despite the rapists effort they will not be able to exit the vagina. Surgical removal is necessary for safe removal of the male genitalia. This method was put in place so that the rapist could face criminal consequences.
Media coverage indirectly implied that mass production of Rape-aXe would begin in 2007. The mass manufacturing for Rape-aXe never started and it is still unclear if the product will ever make it to any market. Feedback to Dr. Elhers design was negative and created stigma.
“I consulted engineers, gynecologists and psychologists to help in the design and make sure it was safe,” Dr. Elhers said in an interview with CNN back in 2010.
Two months ago, a clothing line called AR Wear (Anti Rape Wear) was introduced to the public. AR Wear is a line of clothing that cannot be ripped, cut or torn off the victim. Many media outlets covered the story in November when AR Wear wanted to start a fundraising campaign for the product. The creators stated that if they met their fundraising goal, they would know that the public wanted their product. As the fundraising began, controversial opinions were sprouted throughout the internet. Many articles said that it would create larger stigma around rape and that a line like AR Wear would only make women feel safe if they had the product.
Beginning with an anti-rape tampon that sliced off the tip of a man’s penis to an anti-rape condom that replicates the idea of vaginal teeth, society found a high risk with bringing these to the market. Victim safety, murder and psychological trauma were raised at these inventions. “It is about providing women and girls with options to protect themselves while the process of changing the culture of rape in our society continues,” said on indiegogo.com one month ago by Ruth and Yuval, creators of AR Wear. The creators made an announcement about an AR Wear line for men 30 days ago.
Creation of anti-rape products started in countries where rape was an epidemic, and now is expanding to countries where rape crime is increasing. The evolution of anti-rape products continue as rape crisis continues to increase around the world.Tags: campaign, CNN, Jaap Haumann, RAPEX, Sonnet Ehlers, South African