Making Rape More Dangerous

by Justin

This beast speaks for itself: http://www.antirape.co.za/intro.htm. Rather than explaining the way it operates, I suggest getting the info direct from the source – complete with an uncomfortably straight-forward animated gif.

The anti-rape condom is being given out in South Africa right now in an effort to curb the grotesque and effectively unchecked prevalence of sexual assault in the country. In 2002 South Africa ranked second globally for instances of rape followed by arrest with 54,000, though it ranks 26th for overall population – the same site ranks it number one per capita. The United States has nearly double the number of convictions, but ranks 3rd in total population and 9th per capita. What’s worth noting is that in the US we have a broader definition of what constitutes rape, significantly more effective and accessible venues to report sexual assault, and a far less corrupt justice system. It’s worse in South Africa than the numbers suggest.

A 2009 study by South Africa’s Medical Research Council produced more revelatory results after anonymously polling 1738 men:

Of those surveyed, 28% said they had raped a woman or girl, and 3% said they had raped a man or boy. Almost half who said they had carried out a rape admitted they had done so more than once, with 73% saying they had carried out their first assault before the age of 20.

That’s one in four men admitting to rape. And the same study asserts that an estimated 7% of rape accusations ultimately lead to conviction. The sexual crime landscape may be taking a turn for the worst under the leadership of polygamist and rape-accused president Jacob Zuma – word is that his professed machismo is encouraging shows of masculinity and dominance among men in South Africa. The Guardian article from last year is worth reading in its entirety.

The short of it is that it’s very dangerous to be a woman in South Africa. Or a young man meeting with similar abuse in addition to pressure from a sexually violent peer culture. The Rape-aXe may go some way in deterring rape – but I question its real efficacy. One, it would take remarkably little effort to discover its presence before any act of penetration. And upon discovery, either through the excruciating pain of blades embedding into the most sensitive of parts or through preemptive examination, I think the violence would turn toward murder. If the attacker is of a mind to commit such a heinous crime, he’s only a hair away from even more extreme assault. The scenario becomes one with two victims of mental and physical trauma.  Violence perpetuates violence, right?

Whatever empowerment may seem to come from a woman arming her body against intrusion, I don’t imagine this will lessen violent crime in South Africa. Honestly, it seems like a pretty horrific fix to an issue more endemic to the misogynist culture of some South Africans and a government either incompetent or unconcerned.

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