Rape-aXe UPDATE: What CNN Got Wrong

Photo Courtesy antirape.co.za

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Yesterday, I reported that women should never feel the need to arm their vaginas to snare rapists. But that’s the unfortunate case/real-life horror show since the patented device called Rape-aXe arrived.

CNN reported that the Rape-aXe’s creator, Sonnet Ehlers “is distributing” the device during the World Cup, a statement which was picked up by bloggers and daily news sources all over. This, however, is not true, which sucks since, as I pointed out, 317 South African women will be raped during one 90-minute World Cup game. The truth is Ehlers wants to pass out the toothed condoms during the World Cup, but she hasn’t and won’t be able to unless she receives enough donations. I discovered this fact this morning after reading an email she sent me last night. I emailed her back to find out if there’s been any fallout from CNN getting a vital part of the story wrong, and to get her take on why South African donors aren’t breaking down her door to jump on this (unfortunately) much-needed product. Once she replies, I’ll update this post. In the meantime, here are Ehlers’ responses to my other questions:

MJ: Why did you choose the distribute the Rape-aXe during the World Cup?

SE: Because I wanted to protect women against possible rape. You know parties and with parties comes liquor.

MJ: How many have you distributed during the World Cup?

SE: I received by then only $120. Could not give out free condoms with such little money. I hope donations will come in so that I can give free condoms to women.

MJ: Has anyone outside of South Africa ordered the Rape-aXe? If so, where were they from?

SE: From all over the world. Head office for license rights and distribution is in Germany

MJ: How much does it cost?

SE: It will differ from country to country

MJ: I’ve read reports that South African officials are determining if and/or when to make the Rape-aXe available in the tampon aisle of stores. Is this true?

SE: It will be sold in the aisle of condoms

MJ: Will the Rape-aXe be readily available in stores?

SE: It depends on the distributors in each country

MJ: When will the Rape-aXe be in stores?

SE: It depends on the country

MJ: According to your previous answer, you have not distributed Rape-aXe condoms so far for the World Cup. Is this correct?

SE: Yes

MJ: Do you intend on distributing 30,000 Rape-aXe condoms in South Africa during the World Cup if the donations come in?

SE: Yes

MJ: Also, when (what date) will the Rape-aXe be available in the condom aisles in South Africa?

SE: As soon as a South African becomes a distributor. No one has come forward.

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And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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