Rapex is an anti-rape device developed by Sonette Ehlers, a medical technician from South Africa. Her invention aims to counter the rapidly growing rape cases in South Africa by empowering women to fight back against the assault. The device is constructed in the sort of a tube formation that resembles a condom, due to which it is often referred as a ‘condom for women.’

The tube has barbs or fangs inside it, which are dubbed as teeth. The device’s practical viability comes into action as soon as a woman is forced with an unwanted insertion. The tube is inserted in the vaginal area of a woman in the sort of tampon. In case of an assault, the attacker impaled himself on the barbs. Apart from the excruciating pain that comes along, the attacker has to visit the hospital to get the device removed, which would expose his attempt at such a heinous crime.

The condom would stay attached to the attacker’s body and could only be removed by a hospital surgeon, which would alert hospital staff and police. In this way, the attacker becomes the victim of his own demons. The inventor claimed this device as an initiative to enable women to take control of their bodies and protect their own selves against unwanted encounters. The device comes in many forms and shapes; however, the tubular structure is the most prominent one.

Ehlers, the inventor of Rapex, narrated an encounter with a rape victim that prompted her to undertake the drive to invent such a device. The victim, while expressing her emotions during the assault, stated that she wished at that moment that she has “teeth down there” so that she could not only protect herself but also punish the assaulted for his vile act. The device is said to be a source of self-empowerment for women.

However, there are some critics of this device who say that this sort of punishment is a bit too much- a medieval sort of punishment that unleashes excruciating repercussions into the criminal. However, the proponents of the device say that the crime of a rapist is so grave that such a punishment is totally justified.

It is interesting to note that Rapex is not the first anti-rape device that is produced to prevent such incidents. Back in the 15th century, there were chastity belts, a sort of clothing item that is a locking item designed to prevent sexual partners from intimate temptation as well as save women from being violated. Similarly, Rapex is designed to cater to the ineffectiveness of the legal system and the law enforcement agencies.

Women of South Africa feel like they cannot rely on the system to provide them safety. The rape incidents in South Africa are growing rapidly; however, the conviction rates are lower than optimal. Therefore, women of Africa believe that Rapex can provide them the safety net that they require for a peaceful existence. 

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