Today, I noticed that one of my friends had re-posted a short note about the 'anti-rape condom' on their page. This is actually not a new thing. This device has been around for almost two years now, but the post reminded me about it and I thought this might be a suitable time for a tirade. Okay, first for those who have never seen this thing, here it is:
It is like a female condom. Women are supposed to wear it inside their vaginas. It has barbs on the inside. If a man puts his penis in there (or, I suppose fingers too), the barbs imbed in his penis and the whole thing attaches to him. He has to seek medical attention to remove it. Some people have suggested that this is genius but I beg to differ. There are so many things wrong with it that I think I will have to count them. 1. The person who invented this thing is obviously laboring under the delusion that rape is only a man putting his penis into a woman's vagina. There are a lot of ways to sexually assault someone and this is just one of them. So this is not dealing with rape, it is dealing with only one form of sexual assault of many. 2. How is this preventing rape? It doesn't prevent it, it merely hurts the man who tries to rape someone. We all know from the copious amounts of research that has been done on this that rape is rarely sexually motivated and that sex offenders almost always re-offend, even when they've been caught and convicted. Do we really think that a man who encounters this 'vagina dentata' will never ever assault someone again? I doubt it. He will check first before he inserts his penis or he will just assault women in different ways. 3. Which brings me to the fact that sexual assault is almost always pre-meditated and often thoroughly planned. Any guy who thinks that he may encounter this device can easily check for it and remove it. This thing has been widely publicized and if it ever caught on in any particularly area, a rapist would know to look. 4. Are women supposed to walk around wearing this all the time? Are we really saying that rape is such a common and normal thing that we should stick something in our vagina and wander around with it on a regular basis? The only way this stands a chance of working is if you wear it all the time because you never know when you might get raped. I think telling women to live in constant fear and readiness to be raped is an awful statement about our world. 5. How comfortable could this possibly be? You can't feel a female condom if it's inserted properly but that is just a thin tube of plastic. This has big barbs in it. I can't imagine it feels comfortable. Are we supposed to walk around with something poking our vaginas just because someone might rape us? 6. Which leads to - if you do wear it all the time, it must cause some sort of irritation which could easily lead to infections or a risk of STI's. 7. Many people have brought up the concern that a man who encounters this device is going to be plenty upset and may take that out on the woman he is assaulting, leading to further danger for her. Instead of giving women anti-rape condoms and rape whistles and wasp spray and personal alarms, lets give them cops who listen to them and believe them and judges who convict sex offenders and governments who take sexual assault seriously and mandate stiff minimum sentences for it. This is the only way societies will come to understand that sexual assault is wrong, it's a crime, it's serious, and it's not ok. Let's do that instead of just giving women a nasty barbed condom and saying 'lots of women get raped, you better be ready for it'.