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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June 2005, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
S Africa 'rape trap' condemned
Charlene Smith
Activist Charlene Smith: Device is 'vengeful, horrible, and disgusting'
Anti-rape campaigners in South Africa are outraged about a new invention intended to catch rapists.

The device, designed for a woman to insert, attaches itself to a rapist and has to be surgically removed.

Its inventor says this will help in the prosecution of the rapist. Critics say the invention represents a return to the days of the chastity belt.

Some 1.5 million rapes occur in South Africa each year - one of the highest rates in the world.

"This is a medieval instrument, based on male-hating notions and fundamentally misunderstands the nature of rape and violence against women in this society," said Charlene Smith, one of South Africa's most prominent campaigners against rape.

"It is vengeful, horrible, and disgusting. The woman who invented this needs help."

'Something must be done'

The inventor of the device, Sonette Ehlers insisted she did not hate men.

"Something needs to be done, and women are crying out for me to go ahead," she told the BBC's World Today programme.

Ms Ehlers has patented the tampon-sized device, and expects it to go on sale next month.

Lisa Vetten, of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) said it was "a terrifying thought that women are being made to adapt to rape by wearing these devices".

Ms Ehlers's critics argue that it would be better to educate men not to rape in the first place, rather than just to catch them after the deed.

But the inventor insisted: "I'm not an educator - I will go for those they can't educate."




SEE ALSO
Mbeki slammed in rape race row
05 Oct 04 |  Africa
Rape - silent war on SA women
09 Apr 02 |  Africa

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