And you thought the Vagina Dentata was just a Freudian phantasm.

The Rapex is a device patented on August 31, 2005 by a South African woman named Sonette Ehlers, designed to act as an anti-rape contraption. Its official site,, says it's "The world's 1st anti-rape condom."

The device is roughly akin to a female condom but with a plastic "trigger" at the far end and a number of retractable plastic spikes on the inside. When the trigger is bumped (by an intruding penis, for instance) the plastic spikes spring out and embed themselves in the penis of the attacker. The spikes require surgical removal, since attempting to remove them by brute force will result in laceration of the penis. It is positioned, however, more like a tampon; indeed, the site mentions the use of an applicator to insert and "arm" the device. The reason for this is so that any would-be rapist cannot detect the Rapex until it's too late. Ow. Another advantage proffered by the "rat trap's" (as some opponents of hers have referred to it) is that it means that the perpetrator can be easily identified by the fact that he has a spiky lump of latex wrapped round his manhood. So it's no longer "your word against his." However, there has been varied criticism of this "mediaeval instrument."

That being said, there's various slight problems with this portable vagina dentata. The first is that having his pork sword filleted, the rapist might decide to resort to something a little more drastic. Like killing his victim. Although the inventor says that it should immobilise an assailant more effectively than kicking him in the crotch, there's always the fact that a would-be violator who is sufficiently hopped up on adrenalin could block out the pain long enough to mutilate the victim further - as revenge, if you will. Furthermore, one commentor pointed out that rape need not necessarily be vaginal, or that a savvy attacker might decide to use some other implement to detect if their potential victim is equipped with such a device - after all, reports have it that during Soviet advances across Germany towards the end of World War II, those Red Army soldiers who were incapable of sustaining an erection long enough to carry out the deed would often substitute, say, a broken bottle.

Not to mention that the Rapex could in itself be used as an offensive weapon. A woman might install one before seducing a man against whom she has a grudge. Furthermore, as well as causing him quite alarming injuries, she could then use the fact that he was hospitalised with a Rapex round his genitals as evidence in a false accusation of rape. This would be morally reprehensible conduct on two counts, since not only would an otherwise innocent person be falsely charged (and possibly incarcerated,) but also it could lead to more cases of "crying wolf" until such a time as medics start to adopt a cynical approach by which they refuse to believe it as rape evidence (and notify the police) even when there actually was a rape.

Then there's the legal issues as well. Given the way in which the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in the UK was worded, rape (or at least the actus reus thereof) is committed upon penile penetration of the "vagina, anus, or mouth" of the victim. A strict constructionist judge may throw out a self-defence claim by the victim who used a Rapex, saying that as the injuries inflicted by the device occurred after penetration occurred, it was not, in fact, used to actively prevent the attack from occurring (as, say, the potential victim stabbing or shooting at the would-be rapist would be) and would thus constitute a separate act. Indeed, such an approach may be chosen for policy reasons as well if there had recently been cases of false accusations using a Rapex.

Now, before I leave you, I feel I must stress something here before people start accusing me of glorifying rape. Rape is morally indefensible and thoroughly illegal. Do not do it. Indeed, one may regard the Rapex as a "medieval device for a medieval deed" as Ms. Ehlers herself puts it, and one of the arguments often given by proponents of the Rapex and its use is the current rape rate in South Africa, which is something along the lines of 119 cases per annum for every 100,000 head of population, and which is apparently the highest rate in the world. (If someone can verify this, please /msg me.)

Will the person who anonymously softlinked "Only women bleed" please at least have the gallantry to /msg me and say why they disapproved.

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