I Share Hope is a project to interview 1000 world leaders to learn about their vision of hope through their truly inspiring stories. This week’s topic is Dr. Sonnet Ehlers, a doctor in South Africa, fighting rape.

She believes that hope is spreading love and warmth. You should spread love, and in doing so, we will make a more peaceful place. She learned her message of hope from her parents who encouraged her to resolve problems when she found them. She actively shares hope with others through her organization and through the development of her Rape-aXe condom. It’s patented in multiple countries but at this point, she’s encountered some hurdles in getting it manufactured because of lack of investors.

In an attempt to understand rape and the mindset of a rapist, she has interviewed many men who have admitted to rape. She is also an activist in trying to educate women about how to avoid situations where she is most vulnerable to rape. She advises women to be alert when walking, instead of being on the phone or looking for keys. Spiked drinks are a big problem associated with rape. She tells women to never, ever accept a drink that has been opened. Only accept drinks that are sealed and never leave it alone for a moment.

South Africa is the rape capital of the world, and she has done something substantial to give hope to women. There is no easy solution to the deep societal problem of rape. As a whole, we must teach men (for the sake of this blog, we will focus on male perpetrators) to respect a woman’s bodily integrity.  Anyone who knows about rape knows that it is not solely a sexual crime, but a crime of violence. No matter what women do, and they should not *have* to do anything to avoid being raped, some women will still be raped, especially in South Africa where it has a strong cultural foothold. In the meantime, this device may help deter some men from raping, at least vaginally, and will help catch some rapists.

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