Friday, June 25, 2010

Doctor invents female condom with 'teeth' STOPPING RAPE IN SOUTH AFRICA.

Few dare confront it, yet the violating act of rape is still very much an aspect of every society. But for one South African doctor, something needed to be done — and fast — to stem the menace after her encounter with a rape victim.

She invented female condoms with “teeth”. Four decades ago when Dr Sonnet Ehlers was reportedly on call at night, a devastated rape victim was brought in.

Eyes lifeless

“Her eyes were lifeless; she was like a breathing corpse. She looked at me and said, ‘If only I had teeth down there,’” recalled Ehlers, who was a 20-year-old medical researcher at the time. It was then that Dr Sonnet decided someday, she would come up with something to help fight rape, according to CNN.

Forty years down the line, she came up with a unique solution, worn by women like tampons — the Rape-aXe. The device can only be surgically removed once it has lodged itself on the male genital, which will result in positive identification of the attacker and subsequent arrest.

The rapist in question will not be able to walk right or even urinate due to constant pain. If he tries getting rid of it, it will only get a tighter grip. However, the condom will not cause any serious harm like breaking the skin or giving way to the danger of any fluid exposure.

Dr Sonnet went a step further and consulted “engineers, gynaecologists and psychologists” to help make the design safe and not subject victims to HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

The anti-rape condom is now undergoing a trial period in South Africa, where it is distributed free to women, especially during the Fifa World Cup. Once the trial is over, it will be available on the market for $2.20 (Sh170).

So will the razor sharp condom be the answer to rapists? Perhaps in South Africa, which according to Human Rights Watch has one of the highest incidence of rape in the world. A 2009 report by the country’s Medical Research Council found that 28 per cent of men surveyed had raped a woman or girl, with one in 20 saying they had raped in the past year.

Some people see Dr Sonnet’s innovation as welcome, since women have always taken drastic steps to ward off rape. However, critics are accusing Dr Sonnet of developing a medieval weapon in fighting rape.

They are asserting that the device will only incite more violence against women since a man subjected to great pain might easily kill the woman wearing it, adding that the act of wearing the condom in anticipation of being assaulted represents enslavement that no woman should be subjected to.

Ms Rosemary Okello, the director of African Woman and Child Feature Service (AWC), a non-governmental organisation based in Nairobi, seems to agree. Speaking to the Nation Media Group’s online publication, Africa Review, Ms Okello says “medical invention cannot be used to tackle a social problem”, since this will not address say, sexual harassment.

Then there are all those babies who are subjected to rape, but are still too young to wear the condom. Ms Okello added that although the device had been developed in good faith, it was still gender and age biased. “What about men who are also victims of rape, and how many women will have access to it?” she asked.

Like other lobbyists, she is instead rooting for more preventative and educational measures for both men and women, aimed at stopping sexual assault in the first place. At the World Cup, the world is watching to see if rapists will be deterred.
Ambassador Lucy .s .Mashua President of Mashua's voice for the voiceless International
Assisting refugees in the US and representation in advocasy
The Global Ambassador for fighting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and standing up for Women’s Rights.
And the Chairperson of a worldwide campaign against FGM.