Rape aXe, effective or not?

This just popped up in my social media feed:

 
I have mixed feelings. I’m not arguing for or against the use of the Rape-aXe, but will list some thoughts that came to mind. This is by no means a definitive list, just some initial thoughts:
  • Rapists can burn for all I care. You rape a woman, whatever horrors fall upon you are well deserved IMO. Over the years, I’ve trained numerous women who were sexually abused or raped, so they could have more tools at their disposal to avoid a repeat of those horrors. Many of them never fully recover, so I have zero sympathy for the perpetrators of these foul crimes.
  • I’d be interested in how the law sees this in different countries. Self-defense laws vary wildly but proportionality is often a part of them. In most cases, I don’t think you can mutilate on purpose. I wonder what defense lawyers have to say about this.
  • I can see where in some places, this could be a useful deterrent. There are places on earth where rape is such a part of daily life, prevention simply doesn’t cut it. So in that context, I can understand how this is a last-ditch attempt at stopping the problem.
  • I don’t like last-ditch efforts much. One of the biggest problems in the self-defense world is the focus on the actual physical fighting techniques over all the steps you can take beforehand to avoid the conflict. Doesn’t matter if it’s male or female self-defense: prevention, avoidance, and de-escalation are in the vast majority of cases easier and more effective than actual fighting. If it gets to the point where it goes physical, things are pretty bleak already. Which is why I believe a focus on prevention is just as important, if not more so than learning to fight. For more information, I did a podcast episode specifically on self-defense tips for young women.
  • Re. the previous point: humans like easy, one-stop-shop solutions. This kind of thing fits perfectly in that dynamic. I’m afraid too many women will think “This is perfect and all I need!” to then neglect all the steps that lead up to rape, steps during which you can often still act decisively to avoid it. The result might then be an increased risk of rape. This is similar to men who think strapping on a weapon is all they need to defend themselves. Weapons, and IMO this Rape aXe is a weapon, are not magic wands; they don’t make a problem go away by simply having it.
  • There is this notion, especially with women, that hurting a man’s genitals is a surefire solution to stop him in his tracks. It is false. Some men drop at the slightest bit of pain, others don’t notice it. Some men are fine at first and the pain kicks in later, others become enraged. I’m not even taking drugs and alcohol into account… The sick bastards who like to rape women are unlikely to all fall in the “drop right away” category. The ones who don’t, what’s to stop them from seeing red and beating up or killing the woman for maiming them? The explanation the manufacturers of this device gave about this issue was very much misleading IMO…
    The analogy for men is hitting softly: in some cases, it triggers the attacker to take the violence to a whole new level. As stated above, there are no easy solutions.
  • Rapists are vile and despicable excuses for a human being, but they are not necessarily stupid. Let’s assume the Rape aXe becomes commonly used: it’s not like they won’t know about it. What’s to stop them from changing their MO to start with knocking the woman out or beating her senseless first, then check for the device, remove it and rape her anyway? Which brings me back to my point about last-ditch solutions. They aren’t useless, but people tend to overly rely on them as a magic talisman.
  • Any tool that is used can also be abused. All the folks who want to ban all guns because they are used for killing as well as self-defense; the same applies here. What is to stop a woman from punishing a partner with this device for his screwing around with other women? Doesn’t happen? In Thailand, men might beg to differ…  What about false rape accusations? What is to stop a woman from using this device and then claiming rape. This is an uncomfortable reality for many women to accept, but some of them act in such a way. Some examples here. Now I know abusus non tollit usum and that isn’t my point. My point is that if you accept that there is a discussion about the misuse of firearms and other weapons, you must accept it about this device too. And at the very least talk about it. That doesn’t mean the Rape aXe needs to be banned, only that the use of it is more complex than the simplistic solutions we humans like to have. Case in point: is the manufacturer liable for misuse? What does their insurance say? How about your liability where you live? How many legal precedents are there? Has a rapist every sued one of his victims for using this device? What was the outcome? All answers to which the company has very few answers, yet they are pertinent to your future should you use their product…

I’m sure there are more points to bring up, but I’ll leave it at that. I read the FAQ on their website and felt the answers they provided to some of these points were either a dodge or very much misleading.

 

Conclusion

I don’t have a definitive answer on how effective using the Rape aXe would be in keeping women safe from rape. I’m not questioning the effectiveness of the device itself, obviously (though I am curious to know how many, if any, human test subjects they used to field test the product before making all those definitive claims about it…) But there are many factors involved in defending yourself, regardless if you’re a man or a woman. That means there are many nuances to the discussion which are often neglected. The only advice I would give to women considering its use is this:

Think it through carefully.

Weigh the pro’s and con’s and make an informed decision based on your specific situation and individual needs.