Rage engulfed the nation, setting its heart on fire, after the brutal rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi. It was tragic, unfortunate, horrible, painful and even inhuman, but was it animalistic? It wasn’t. Animals don’t have control over their reproductive urges, they don’t understand the difference between right and wrong, they can’t foresee the damage their actions can cause. Animals don’t rape, humans do.
Man is a complex species with circumstances from the past and the present determining who they become in the future. We all live in the same society, visit the same churches and temples; so what exactly brings some human beings to such a degraded level, that they lose all sense of morality? What snaps inside man’s mind that he becomes a monster with no conscience? And is castration the right punishment for these human beings?
According to the dictionary, castration refers to the process of removal of the testicles of a male animal or a man. Castration is normally performed on domestic animals to prevent reproduction and reduce sexual behaviour, like territorial aggression etc. So, the question arises, is castration only for animals, or can it be used as a punishment for sex offences like rape, molestation etc? In ancient times, winners of battles castrated their captives to symbolize their victory .This involved great danger of death due to bleeding or infection and, in some countries was seen as a death sentence. In more recent times, the Czech Republic practices surgical castration on convicted sex offenders.
The logic seems simple. You make a mistake; you get punished publicly, so that others may be deterred from it. The main problem with castration as punishment can be seen in far-sight. What would happen after the castrated criminal is released into society? Wouldn’t his current state lead to more suppressed anger and resentment? The reason why some men rape, is to ascertain their masculinity, if these men are castrated and then released back, imagine what havoc they will reign on the lives of the women they had earlier raped. Castration is a very short-term punishment, which has no long term guarantees. Surely the person won’t be able to rape a woman again, but who knows what kind of other abuses he would plan to take revenge for his condition.
Sex offences like rape and molestation are a matter of choice. The criminal chooses to do it, without any severe external factors influencing him, unlike other crimes, where money matters, family pride, etc force a person to commit crimes. A lot has research has been done, to understand why do people commit sex offences. Primary causes are anger, low self esteem, sadism, need for sexual gratification etc.
More thought has to be given into how sex offenders should be punished. They are not like other criminals and hence the same laws and punishments must not apply to them. These criminals are sick people, but not animals. We wish they were animals who could be neutered, but unfortunately they aren’t. Believing that they are animals, and castrating them will not solve the problem in the long run.