Saturday, April 28, 2007

What If They Grew Teeth?

YES means YES and No Means CHOMP! shirt

"If only I had teeth down there"
- the words of a rape victim which inspired this device.

The First Post : Rapex: the internal anti-rape device

The words of a rape victim - "If only I had teeth down there" - have inspired the design of a new anti-rape device.

Rapex - dubbed the 'rape trap' - is a product worn internally by women. The hollow inside is lined with rows of razor-sharp hooks, which are designed to latch on to a rapist's penis during penetration. They can only be removed by a doctor.

The product will be on the shelves of South African chemists and supermarkets later this month. South African mother-of-two Sonette Ehlers developed the original prototype in 2005 but has struggled to get it patented and approved for sale, not least because of staunch opposition from feminist groups.

I don't know what is so "anti-feminist" about this little latex jellyfish of doom. It's certainly "unfeminine" from a dead white male perspective - anything or any action that squarely prevents or forestalls sexual intercourse and which is at the discretion of the female is "unfeminine" in a classical European sense. Women are supposed to depend upon the discretion and good will of Gentlemen who will protect them, their reputations and their genetic legacy.

I consider myself a gentleman - and I consider the above to be insulting; not just to women, but damned presumptuous in general. I'm a gentleman, but wasn't put on the earth to waste my time protecting the unprotected against their own urges and desires.

The presumption that a woman cannot or should not take her own personal steps to control her own sexuality, or even prevent a rape is a pretty stunningly patriarchal view. For anyone to suggest that a woman should not have the choice to "bite back" strikes me as absurd. Yes, men should be gentlemen, and for those that are, such a defense need never be an issue of offense - it is, after all, not intended as a defense against gentlemen.

As a gentleman - and gentle person - I have a view toward those who presume the right to casually violate the boundaries and persons of others that can be summed up in two words: "Potential Compost."

Please notice that aside from painfully interrupting the rape, it's a rape-kit in itself. It must be removed by a doctor, it will have DNA from both persons - in the form of an entire penis and body in the perps case, and epithelial cells from the female.

And the only way to get bitten is to stick your shlong where it don't belong!

One great problem with the current views of sexuality is that nobody seems to respect the idea that individuals have the right to make choices, and that those choices are based on individual needs and desires. "The good of society" has certainly never crossed MY mind at the time!

But the idea that I advocate; the right of individuals to say yes to sexual encounters - is meaningless without the right to say "NO" and make it stick.

Current religious morality states that all sexual activity of any sort, with anyone is wrong, unless "permission" is obtained in the form of a marriage contract, and then it's wrong to refuse to have sex. Note that in socially conservative, religious families it's still not unheard of to arrange marriages or pressure children into marriage. In my mind, this is non-consensual sex; rape by proxy.

Rape is a crime of power that happens to be sexual in expression. This little device is a way of responding to that abuse of power in a way that is symbolically and directly significant.

While it would be nice if all men were civilized and ethical in the use of power, that's not a reasonable expectation. Hell, it's not reasonable to expect such perfection of women, either. So a feminism that depends on people behaving as they "should" isn't very useful. Hell, any 'ism' that has no useful answers for individuals under non-ideal social circumstances is useless - no, worse than that; it's directly dangerous to those who rely upon it.

There are risks to a woman who chooses to live outside of patriarchal definitions of her role, there will be both men and women who will oppose that choice, up to and beyond violence in some cases. Nobody should ever think that the excercise of individual liberty is a "safe" choice; they should consider each choice mindfully, with the understanding that there is no mommy or daddy figure to protect one from the consequences of one's own actions.

There are a lot of ways of describing that state, from various perspectives. Me, I refer to it as "being a grown-up." And I see patriarchal societies as being a means of either preventing or at least allowing most people to avoid that dreaded state of individual responsibility for the consequences of one's own actions and choices.

Now, one consequence of being a woman who does not choose to live under the protection of a man is the possibility that some sick fuck will see you as being "legitimate prey," possibly even seeing you as "a whore" because you choose who to have sex with. Oddly, some men will see you this way even if your choice of sexual activity is "no, thank you." I don't presume to understand that, any more than I presume to understand women who get all squishy at being seen and treated as a whore, whether or not they really are.

But I do recognize them as being real people with real desires. that I am aware of to the extent that they may affect me and my own interests. For me, at my age, my main risk is having some dear young thing try to hump my leg. For men, unwanted sexual advances are pretty much just awkward, unless they are accosted by another, stronger male. For women, it's a much more visceral threat and has to be considered in that light.

So to sum this up - not only do I approve of this idea, but I approve enough to help get it kickstarted. RapeX and appear to have a budget of three stale cheese sandwiches and a box of bent staples. It's the only apparently commercial site I've ever seen that asks for donations!

But remember, this is a product that was inspired by the conditions for poor women in South Africa, designed and brought to market by a South African. Now, that's not to say, "well, gee, that's amazing" - but it is a recognition that they need some help marketing this so that the price can be low enough for all women who feel the need to use them can afford them. Maybe some first world hard currency can serve as enough to help - or maybe the exposure of the idea will invite venture capital.

And, just incidentally - I'd kinda like to see these available in MY corner drug store - if for no other reason than to see Focus on the Family scramble to figure out what the hell their official position should be!

Anyhoo, I've created a bunch of products to help promote the idea. Money will go to the firm, with a split for me, as soon as I have a way of getting it there. Until then, it piles up. Please use this as a way of creating blog graphics for your site, for creating products for events, or in other ways that may suggest.

create & buy custom products at Zazzle

Graphic Credits : RapeX Condom graphic courtesy
YES means YES and No Means CHOMP! by rapexsa, the RapeX Promotional Gallery

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Anonymous said...

I think it's a very good idea to have a way to defend oneself in such extreme circumstances. It's not like the thing is hard for the women to remove.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many rapists would be so infuriated that this that they would just kill their victim for it.

I wonder if this could lead to victims being raped in a nearby orifice instead, obviously much more physically traumatic.

I wonder if a woman trying to take revenge on a man (perhaps he cheated on her) could use this device and then invite him for consentual sex. Presumably doctors will be asked to report any men showing up with this device attached to them, and presumably any man with this device would be viewed instantly as guilty.

Finally now that I've seen a picture of this device, I wonder if rapists wouldn't just check for this device before commiting the act.

mcewen said...

Lummy! I have been leading a sheltered existence!


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