It was just short of a month ago that I mentioned an anti-rape device that was due to hit the market in SA shortly. Well, it would appear it will be available for the tiny sum of R1 a pop (about 7p) towards the end of the month at any shop that currently sells condoms.
As we near it's official release, more and more information about it is coming to light and it's making quite a stir with The Guardian and Wired reporting about it already. There's even an FAQ on the official Rapex site. I expect a lot more news sites to be reporting about it over the next few weeks, and it may even make a TV appearance soon.
I had a quick squiz through the FAQs and it certainly answered a couple of questions I had, and made me smile too. From the answers in the FAQ, they've clearly been written by a South African - short and sweet and to the point. For example:
Q: Is it legal?
A: Yes it is, as it is neither lethal nor fatal.
I love the laws in SA :-)
Q: What happens if my child finds it in the waste paper basket and sticks his finger into it?
A: Once you remove the condom with the applicator, the hooks attach themselves to the applicator stick, and the condom is effectively sealed before it is discarded. As with all potentially dangerous items, it is your responsibility to discard it properly.
Hmmm, they won't like that answer in the UK or the US. Given the spate of stupid law suits, you can't expect people in these countries to be responsible for their own actions.
My favourite quote comes from The Guardian's article:
Some people - including women's campaigners - have criticised the device for being "vengeful". Well, as its inventor, Sonette Ehlers, has said, it's "a medieval device for a medieval deed". If any rapist finds himself hopping with pain as a result - as well as facing the fact that the only way to remove the device is said to be a highly awkward and incriminating hospital visit - that seems just fine to me. Yes, it's vengeful. Yes, it hurts rapists. Oh well.
Whilst this isn't a nice device, unfortunately, it's necessary to combat a problem that is rife in South Africa. You will hear a lot of criticism and outrage about this device, but note how many of the negative comments come from people who actually live in a country with 1.7 million REPORTED rapes a year. My guess is near to none and most of the comments will come from people who live in much safer countries.