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Asza Valdimarsdottir
Stringer (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Born in Iceland, raised in Malaysia and Thailand. Did an Undergraduate degree in English Literature in Ontario, Canada and an MA in International Broadcast Journalism in London, United Kingdom. Currently a stringer for an International (undisclosed) News Agency in Iceland. Oh, and Asza is pronounced 'ah-sha'.


Decreased risk, increased paranoia?

Published 24th June 2010 - 9 comments - 3047 views -

Dr Ehlers demonstrates how the Rape-aXe worksBefore the World Cup, there was much talk about how South Africa would handle all the tourists coming down there, especially considering the high rate of crime, violence and rape in the country. According to a [fairly outdated] survey compiled by the United Nations, "South Africa was ranked first for rapes per capita. One in three of the four-thousand women questioned by the Community of Information, Empowerment and Transparency said they had been raped in the past year. More than twenty-five percent of South African men questioned in a survey published by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in June 2009 admitted to raping someone; of those, nearly half said they had raped more than one person." With statistic like these, it is no wonder that South Africa worried about the effect these things would have on tourism during the world cup.

Then came South African Dr Sonnette Ehlers. For over forty-years she has been working on the Rape-aXe. A female condom that has 'teeth' that lock onto a man's penis during penetration. Dr Ehlers is giving out thirty-thousand of these during the World Cup, hoping it will make women feel safer and that men will be less likely to rape. She said she had spoken to convicted rapist and some (not all!) had said they would have reconsidered the attack if they knew of consequences as painful as Rape-aXe. But what happens to the man, exactly? "It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on," she said. "If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter... however, it doesn't break the skin, and there's no danger of fluid exposure."

In theory, this is probably a major break-through. So many women get raped, so few men get caught. Rape-aXe would guarantee them getting caught, as the device has to be surgically removed from the penis by a doctor. However, if a girl is wearing one, does that not mean she anticipates rape? And maybe, psychologically, that's near as bad as getting raped. And even if a girl is wearing Rape-aXe, it doesn't prevent her from getting raped and psychological trauma could still be suffered. What the Rape-aXe does do, is prevent unwanted pregnancies and/or diseases from being spread from such a horrible attack. Whether it'll solve anything else... I'm sadly skeptical.



Category: Human Rights | Tags:


  • Carmen Paun on 24th June 2010:

    Very interesting topic Asza, didn’t know anything about it.
    I agree with you that it doesn’t prevent women from being victims of rape and for them suffering physical and psychological trauma, but I think it is still a good step in making sure rapists are caught.
    Rape is one of the crimes I would maintain the death penalty for.

  • Hanna Clarys on 24th June 2010:

    I can’t help thinking about something when reading this: if a girl wearing this gets raped, isn’t it possible the rapist gets so angry and agressive that he does even worse things to her?

    I don’t know… maybe it’s silly thinking…

  • Carmen Paun on 24th June 2010:

    Going on with the silly thinking Hanna, he might do what you say but he might also hurt so much that the girl could escape.

  • Hanna Clarys on 24th June 2010:

    And death penalty, Carmen?
    I am contra death penalty, in every case. Some who live deserve to die, some who die deserve to live. We should be very cautious in deciding about these things.

  • Hanna Clarys on 24th June 2010:

    You have a point there, Carmen. I don’t know whether I would take that chance though…

  • Carmen Paun on 24th June 2010:

    Dear Hanna,
    I like to speak my mind. And I think a man who commits such a cruelty against a woman deserves to die. Of course we are just human and we shouldn’t decide over anybody else’s right to live, but in the same way we shouldn’t be able to do any action that will traumatize somebody for life. I think rape is the worst cruelty against a woman and from my very personal point of view, the one that commits it deserves to die.

  • Sylwia Presley on 24th June 2010:

    Even if it does not give all possible positive solutions I think it’s the step in the right direction.

  • Maria Kuecken on 25th June 2010:

    I was reading something about this a while ago, and many people seem to think that it will just induce rapists to become more violent out of revenge. Or, if it becomes more commonly used, a rapist may anticipate it and insert something else first to catch the trap before raping.  In any case, I am skeptical too because it is not preventative and doesn’t get at the root of the problem.  Thanks for the post, Asza!

  • Luan Galani on 01st July 2010:

    Wow! Great discussion…
    Personally, I deny fiercely death penalty, but, at the same time, I couldn’t agree more with Carmen. It is the worst cruelty against women.

    I’m skeptical too on such superficial measures, which are good for nothing. They are diversions, simply. The root of the problem continue spreading over.

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