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  Fall 2005

South African Woman Invents Penis Trap for Rapists

A South African medical technician has invented a tampon-sized anti-rape device. Women can wear it inside their vaginas. It attaches itself to a penis and must be surgically removed. South Africa has the highest reported rate of rape in the world. 1.5 million women and girls are raped annually. 65% are gang rapes. 40% of victims are children.

The inventor of the “Rapex” believes that will also prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases like HIV. South Africa also has the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world.

Some anti-rape activists are concerned that use of the penis trap will lead to more violence to women. Some men might retaliate for having their penises cut up. Other women objected to the invention. They insist that women and girls shouldn’t have to adapt to rape. Nor should women be responsible for putting a penis-cutting device inside themselves to survive. They want to stop the device from going on sale alongside tampons in supermarkets next month. It will sell for 1 rand -- about 16 cents.

A leading anti-rape activist, Charlene Smith, called the trap “male-hating, vengeful, horrible and disgusting.” She said women should focus on educating men not to rape. But Sonette Ehlers, inventor of the device, said that “Rapex” is safe for a woman to use and does not permanently harm the man’s penis. “I’m not an educator. I will go for those they can’t educate.”

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