The woman inserts the latex condom like a tampon. Jagged rows of teeth-like hooks line its inside and attach on a man's penis during penetration, Ehlers said.
Once it lodges, only a doctor can remove it -- a procedure Ehlers hopes will be done with authorities on standby to make an arrest.
While I want to view this as good news--a way to empower women, a story of women empowering women (it's far too rare to see a news story about a woman inventing a nifty gadget, in my opinion)--I have very strong reservations. The Rape-aXe (yes, that is its actual name) reinforces the damaging view that rape is a "women's issue" rather than a societal problem and seems likely to focus attention on individual incidents rather than the underlying social structures that lead to violence against women. Furthermore, I can see far too easily how it can be used in victim-blaming: "If she really didn't want to be raped, she should have worn a Rape-aXe. To protect herself." And let's not forget that 77% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows--and isn't necessarily likely to view as a potential rapist, meaning women may not be wearing these when they could be most helpful.
So overall, I guess I'm glad this product should available sometime in the near future, especially since it prevents fluid exchange, providing women with protection from the more physical aspects of rape--pregnancy and STIs--but it's a tragic statement about the world we live in that it's going to find a market.
Update: There's also a really interesting and vibrant discussion happening at one of my favorite blogs, Shakesville.