I’ve previously discussed misguided self defense tools that can’t hold a candle to the self defense effectiveness of a firearm. Out of South Africa, the “rape capital” of the world, comes a well-intentioned self defense tool that I fear will do more harm than good:
The Rape-aXe “anti rape condom was developed by a South African woman, Sonnet Ehlers, after witnessing first hand the horrific aftermath of an sexual assault. . . The Rape-aXe system consists of a latex sheath, which contains razor-sharp barbs. The device is worn in her vagina like a tampon. When the attacker attempts vaginal penetration the barbs attach themselves to the penis, causing great discomfort. The device must be surgically removed, which will result in the positive identification of the attacker and subsequent arrest.”
At first, the Rape-aXe sounds like a viable self defense tool that gives rapists some well-deserved discomfort, all while protecting the victim and helping to correctly identify the perpetrator. Launching this product in South Africa, where sexual violence is commonplace, also appears to make sense – at first. However, there are some rather serious flaws with the Rape-aXe:
- The Rape-aXe only works once the rapist has begun to violate their victim, meaning that the victim must still suffer that emotional (and likely physical) trauma.
- A rapist who is injured by the Rape-aXe may decided to harm or kill the victim in response.
- If the Rape-aXe becomes popular, it is likely that rapists will simply check for and pull out the Rape-aXe before commencing their attack. Indeed, depending upon the attacker’s actions, it is possible that a rapist who is not even looking for a Rape-aXe may inadvertently find it. Victims found with a Rape-aXe could conceivably suffer additional violence beyond that which the rapist had originally intended to inflict.
- Even assuming that the Rape-aXe really does stop rapists and cause them to flee, rather than causing them to become more violent towards their victims, a third of the rapes in South Africa are gang rapes, meaning that there are multiple attackers. Even if the Rape-aXe stops the first attacker, the remaining attackers will be unharmed – and likely to punish the victim.
While I believe the creator of the Rape-aXe has her heart in the right place, I just don’t see the Rape-aXe being the solution. Instead, armed self defense with a firearm appears to be the answer. One of the best things about firearms is that they enable an individual to defend themselves, even when faced by physically stronger and/or more numerous attackers. A few examples: This armed woman used her shotgun to stop a convicted sex offender who broke into her home to rape her for a second time that week. Similarly, this armed school teacher used her gun to stop a convicted felon who broke into her home at 5am and then attacked. This armed mother used her handgun to save herself and her children from a violent home invader, while this armed woman used her gun to stop a home invading stalker. As another example, this armed student used his gun to stop a pair of home invaders who were preparing to rape the women present before murdering all 10 house guests. Indeed, as the statistics, real life examples, and a United States Department of Justice study all demonstrate, self defense can be a rape victim’s best chance at avoiding harm.