Dominion of New York

Social Justice

August 2, 2012

When a Rapist Attacks This, He’ll Regret It

More articles by »
Written by: Kelly Virella



he moment you realize you’re face-to-face with a rapist must be one of the most terrifying ever. But a woman wearing this device can have the small satisfaction of knowing that her rapist will soon be in major pain. When he tries to penetrate her, his penis will slide into a sheath lined with barbs. To remove them, he’ll need to a see a doctor, who will call the police.

The name of this product is RapeX. The six-year-old device — invented by a white South African woman — is inserted like a tampon and fits like one. It got a good deal of press when it was released, but is back in the news again thanks to a viral Facebook image shared by TonyaTKOShow.

As a tool of revenge, RapeX is brilliant. Who doesn’t fantasize about harming these guys? And it could be a pretty powerful deterrent to stranger rape.

But it also raises a lot of questions. Does it subvert rape culture or reinforce the message that it’s women’s fault and responsibility? How will women who are raped by acquaintances — the vast majority of rape cases — protect themselves ? Will they need to wear this all the time? Will a rapist who encounters this turn into a murderer?

The director of a South African rape crisis center told The New York Times, RapeX “sends the retrograde message ‘that women should be responsible for their own safety.'” Do you agree?


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, left to right. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Azipaybarah