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Thursday, July 1, 2010

South Africa: Doctor Invents New Condom

While this is a news story that may have been doing the rounds for quite some time now, I wanted to post about it giving the content of my recent blog post about troubles such as rape in South Africa.The condom was invented by Sonnet Ahlers after her harrowing experiences dealing with rape victims in her native country.

The condom has been in existence since 2005. However, it has been redesigned in 2009 and made big waves in the media again of late with the inventors plans to distribute 30,000 of the invention to women in the lead up to the World Cup. She has sacrificed a lot to get to where she is today having sold her car and houses in order to fund the project. She hopes that when on sale in the future the device will cost just $2.
How does it work. the woman inserts the condom like a tampon. It has inward leaning spikes in it that are activated when the man inserts his penis.When he pulls out the spikes attach to him and cannot be removed until he has surgery. This of course then acts as proof that the rape has taken place and he can be suitably imprisoned as a result.

However the condom has drawn severe criticism and many of the women who argue against its use make valid points. Some believe that the condom is nothing short of a modern day chastity belt and subjects women to psychological trauma by making them paranoid and fearful. It also puts the pressure of rape prevention on the woman's shoulders again, instead of where it should be i.e. convincing men not to rape. Also, it is argued that the man would possibly become more violent if he is subjected to the pain of this. However the doctor has argued that a man who has this stuck to them will be unable to urinate or even walk, giving the victim time to escape.

No one could argue that this is an ideal solution to a terrible problem. Its inventor has responded to claims that the device is medieval by saying its a medieval solution to a medieval problem. Indeed many of the women who arguing against its use report for American and British newspapers talking about how women are blamed for dressing provocatively and how the onus is always on them in the fight against rape. All of this is indeed true and indeed wrong.

However, as someone who has looked into rape statistics in South Africa it would be difficult to argue against anything that would deter would be rapists. A rape takes place in South Africa every 26 seconds and a women born there is more likely to be raped than learn to read. These statistics make for shocking reading and it is clear that rape is at pandemic proportions in South Africa. I firmly believe that this device may have the power to change that and even though the root cause will remain it has the power to end the pain and suffering of a nation who's women have been humiliated and tortured for far too long.


  1. Okay, this is actually pretty interesting. I ended up in this blog from bloggers forum, and I have to admit, I guess I do agree with what this says, specially a man being in so much pain would not even be able to move giving the victim time to escape, but does this mean that the woman has to walk around all day with a condom in her vagina? I mean, when a guy is trying to rape her, it's not like she can say "hey, here wear this for me" So she HAS to wear it all day, everyday. (No one knows when a rape might take place) and if in fact she is wearing the condom all day, wouldn't the guy be able to see it when he tries to rape her? it's obviously not invisible, and is it "attached" to the vagina?
    Not assuming that you would know the answers to all these questions, but I just thought I would add some feedback. Very interesting topic, I'm gonna continue reading the rest of your posts.
    Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Thank you for your very in depth and quality comment. Indeed the condom absolutely has downsides and the fact that a woman would have to wear it all day is indeed one of them. But like I say in my other post rape in South Africa is at absolutely unbelievably high levels. I talk about it in depth in the other post I have linked to on South Africa. Of course in places where rape levels arent so high I wouldne support use of the condom.

    Also the rapist wouldn't actually see the condom as it is inserted into the vagina and latches onto the penis when it is inserted. So in fact it wouldnt be visible to him.

    Thanks again. I checked out your blod.Youve a good writing style and great design.

  3. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my post. And yes, I understand, like any other invention it does have it's downsides.
    Another question, since they have to wear it all the time, do you know if they would have to get several ones? and is the price affordable?
    In that situation, I agree, in places like that, rape is a big issue, so women do have to make sacrifices.
    Thank you again for your feedback.

  4. I honestly dont know if they have to be constantly changed, sorry but I know they were giving tens of thousands of them out for free before the World Cup and then I believe they were going to retail at around 2 or 3 dollars each.

    I dont thing the woman who invented them is in it for the money. Apparently she was inspired to act when a woman came into her clinic after being raped and said she wished her vagina had teeth. She sold her car and re-mortgaged her house to make it happe.