Castration, death penalty are punishments – not prevention
A controversial story all the way out of Nigeria got mense rekking their bekke this week.
In Africa’s most populous country, where 2 million women are reportedly raped every year, the governor of Kaduna state has signed a law authorising surgical castration for men convicted of rape.
Anyone raping a child under the age of 14 will face the death penalty under the new legislation.
Men convicted of raping children will have their testicles chopped off – before being executed.
A woman convicted of rape of a child under 14 faces the removal of her fallopian tubes.
Readers were loving the story – especially here in South Africa where over 40 000 rape cases are reported annually.
But users on international websites were cheering on Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai and his hardline stance too.
It seems the whole world wants to see rapists “disarmed” and removed from society – for good.
Well, everyone except maybe some human rights groups.
Look, in terms of the punishment fitting the crime, justice and satisfaction for victims and their families, castration scores pretty high.
But as a deterrent, even women’s rights groups believe the death penalty and castration are not effective measures to stop gender-based violence.
They argue that it is a reactive and not proactive response to sex crimes.
Last year, in the wake of a spate of high-profile GBV crimes in the country, including the murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana, the debate started raging again.
Women’s Legal Centre advocate Bronwyn Pithey made a good point, saying it’s a misconception that rape is just about sex.
“We incorrectly link sex with rape. The core violence is not around sex, but violence, power and control,” she said.
In other words, with or without a penis, rapists will continue to find a way to carry out sex attacks.
She added that while she felt the minimum sentence of life imprisonment was adequate, not enough rapists were prosecuted.
In a bid to clamp down harder on GBV, Cyril Ramaphosa called on courts to deny bail for rapists and murderers, and no parole for convicts.
Good call Mr President, but does it remove the urge to commit sex crimes?
Would it be effective in deterring a would-be offender? Perhaps.
Does it encourage the sex pest to take more precautions to avoid getting caught? Possibly.
ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamini has also advocated for harsher punishment for rapists, but is in favour of a form of castration as well.
Earlier this year, she said: “There should be no bail for rape and no parole for rapists. There must be chemical castration for those found guilty of rape.”
Chemical castration – this is a drug which lowers the sex drive in the hope of preventing a rapist from re-offending.
But again, critics say these drugs only prevent the urge to commit sex attacks AFTER the crime has been committed, not before.
Dlamini has proposed a more proactive approach: including gender studies in school curricula, in order to educate youngsters and correct behaviour that may lead to abuse.
What do you think?