By Apoorva Kinger:
Chemical castration is a process which involves injection of an anti-androgen drug such as Cyproterone or Depo-Provera into the body of the “patient” after every three months for the purpose of reducing sexual urge or drive for sexual activities. The “patient” here refers to a sexual offender, a sexual predator, a child molester or in medical term a paraphiliac or a pedophile who is involved in any kind of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) includes sexual assult, sexual exploitation, indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.) physical sexual contact with a child, and using a child to produce child pornography. These offenders serve several years of imprisonment and capital punishment, but show no change in their behaviour on completion of their term. Infact, they move out and victimize another innocent soul. To tackle this problem, a biomedical treatment called chemical castration of repeated sex offenders has benn introduced. Countries like United States, Europe, Israel, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Russia, and recently South Korea have adopted this method against child molesters who have shown recidivism.
In order to curb the instances of child sexual abuse, chemical castration is the most humane and ethical method of all as against life-long imprisonment, heavy fines and death penalty. It is a sensible and mature step towards a sensitive issue as it does not involve any surgical removal of testicles or ovaries, the effects are not permanent, they are reversible once the treatment is stopped, hence not leaving the offender permanently castrated.
Chemical castration should not be considered as a severe punishment, it is a remedy, a step towards the rehabilitation of the offenders. In most cases, the offenders are found to be in a state of paraphilia. They need medical help to have control over their unethical sexual desires, so that they can lead a normal offenceless life. In some cases child molesters have agreed to undergo chemical castration to avoid committing further crimes, some voluntarily undergo in return for reduced sentence; for any reason the convict may consent but his rehabilitation is assured to some extent.
Studies have proved that chemical castration is safe (life threatening effects are rare) and effective. In an experiment conducted by P. Gagne, 48 males with long standing histories of committing sexual crimes were given medroxyprogesterone acetate for 12 months. 40 of them were recorded to have experienced less desire for sexual activities, and most importantly greater control over sexual urges; hence chemical castration can be used on the offenders without doubting its positive effects.
When in almost 42% of the cases, the offenders re-offend, we need to tackle the root cause of the problem. Recidivism is common because offenders are not rehabilitated, they are merely punished, they don’t feel guilty of committing crimes, infact they become habitual to the trial procedure and imprisonment term. After being released from several years of imprisonment, the sexual urge in them is all the more; putting behind the bars is not the solution.
An undenying fact about Child Sexual Abuse is that children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as juveniles, 28% more likely to be arrested as adults, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime. A child who was once a victim of child sexual abuse has prospects of becoming a child abuser in future. This criminal cycle will continue in our society until we put an end to it by coming out with constructive solution. Chemical castration is rightly advocated as a solution to end this cycle. To some extent it assures safe environment for the children who are vulnerable. But the question arises whether it should be applicable only to child molesters or child sex offenders or to any convict who has committed sexual abuse of any kind to any age group.
It should be applicable to any convict who commits any kind of sexual abuse for the second time in order to break the criminal cycle in its budding stages and curb the tendency of recidivism.