What I find interesting about RapexTM is that it's a design solution to a societal problem, and it's impossible for anyone other than the user to fully question the validity of its function.

This device, which is tampon-like and clamps onto unwanted intrusion with microscopic teeth, is on sale in South African supermarkets, and can only be removed with medical assistance.

A primitive response to a primitive crime and sold really cheap in the "rape capital of the world", it was inspired by the words of a rape victim: "If only I had teeth down there."

Here are some views culled from the Times.

Charlene Smith, anti-rape campaigner:

“This is a medieval instrument, based on male-hating notions and fundamentally misunderstands the nature of rape and violence against women in this society. It is vengeful, horrible, and disgusting. The woman who invented this needs help.”

Sonette Ehlers, the designer:

“We have to do something to protect ourselves. While this will not prevent rape, it will help identify attackers and secure convictions."

Lisa Vetten of the Centre of Violence and Reconciliation:

“It is a terrifying thought that women are being made to adapt to rape.”

At first this last opinion is a complete thought, but actually it makes no sense at all. Of course the situation in South Africa is terrifying. But to not adapt, that this debate could be kept so fully entrenched in the ideological, the theoretical, a thoroughly bureaucratic land - now that is terrifying.

Sure, Rapex could be imagined as a chastity belt version of a plaster placed on a gun wound. But considering the astonishing facts, this simple, cost-effective, myth-channelling design should be applauded.


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