On Facebook today, I saw a picture of a "toothed female condom" being circulated. The device is called Rape-aXe and was designed by a doctor in South Africa, who, unfortunately, has had to treat far too many victims of rape. One of her patients apparently said, "if only I had teeth down there".
Now, in South Africa, where rape is apparently the national sport, a condom embedded with "teeth" might be a woman's only defense. However, here in the US, we have lots and lots of options for self-defense, the first being SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. I know we talk about it a lot, but I think it bears repeating, especially after reading some of the comments on the FB link.
|Photo cred: Google images
Overwhelmingly, the women who were commenting (and there were thousands) thought that this was a good idea and a great way to prevent rape. In fact, several women commented that if a woman felt uncomfortable in a situation, she could just slip away and insert the Rape-aXe and she would be protected.
God, there are so many things wrong with this type of thinking, I'm not even sure where to start.
First, rape is not a sexual crime! It is a commonly accepted belief by those in the criminal justice system that rape is not a sexual crime. Rape is all about power and dominance and has absolutely nothing to do with sexual drive, which is why chemical castration of rapists doesn't work. Those bastards just use a "substitute" phallus. However, the touchy-feely psychologist types will tell you it's all about sexual gratification. That might be true with date rape, but it is absolutely not true with regard to stranger rape.
Second, let's take a look at the "prevention" of rape by this product. Rape has been defined as forceful penetration of an orifice (that's a newer definition, the old one was forceful penetration of a vagina, but didn't take into account rectal penetration). So, if you think of rape as a forceful penetration, the condom doesn't stop the actual rape, it just keeps the perpetrator from "finishing".
But my first two points really don't matter when we look at SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. When I first read the Facebook post, I kind of snickered and went on with my day. The attitudes of the commenters who said that if a woman was uncomfortable, she could just insert it and be protected continued to eat away at me.
If a woman felt uncomfortable enough that she felt the need to "slip away" to insert the device, she should slip away and go home! Or some other place. Why, oh why, would she go back to a situation like that?
I'll tell you why - because as a society, we've raised our girls to be idiots. We teach them to be nice and not to listen to their instincts. We teach them that "someone" or "something" will protect them and that it's not their responsibility to take care of themselves.
I'm a firm believer - as you know - in listening to instinct, and I've taught my daughter to do the same. I have always allowed her to avoid people she felt were "creepers", even if I didn't feel the same way. In order for her to learn to trust her instincts, I had to show her that I trusted her instincts. Her reality is different from mine; I can't tell her what to do in any given situation. I can guide her, I can give suggestions, but we're two different people, with two different lives' worth of experience (mine just happens to be 21 years longer than hers). A situation that makes her uncomfortable might not have the same impact on me.
There are two things* that I hope I've instilled in my daughter: 1) listen to her gut, if it feels wrong, get out, and 2) pay attention to what is going on around you. Both of those play into situational awareness. If you don't know what's going on around you, how does your gut know what's right or wrong?
It's my hope that she knows, deep in her soul, that it is her responsibility to attend to her safety, that waiting for "someone" or "something" to protect her can cost her her life. Situational awareness, in addition to the wherewithal to remove herself from the situation if it develops around her, can and will save her life. Not some stupid "toothed condom" that requires her to be raped to work.
*There are actually more than two things I hope she's learned.
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