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The Demand For Chemical Castration Of Rapists Is Illogical And Makes No Sense!

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By Dheera Gurnani:

The recent case of a 23 year old photo journalist being gang raped in a safe city like Mumbai created quite a stir in the media and the nation alike. It also bought back the memories of another fateful rape case in Delhi. Discussions, arguments and opinions filled every corridor and every living room. Debates on inadequate safety measures to comparison between Mumbai and Delhi on basis of crime against women appeared on front pages and prime time debates. With the arrest of all the 5 accused, the topic shifted to “the most apt punishment” for the rapist for committing such a heinous crime. Chemical castration was one of the favorite. I am against it.


I am a woman living in Mumbai who aspires to be a journalist. After this case, I thought for a moment about my safety and my future. Fear gripped me and I was full of self-doubt. I questioned my choice of career. Answers unraveled in front of me as time passed. Being a woman is not a crime, be alert and safe (still the danger looms large) and your profession hardly affects your chance of being raped. But all this made me think deep about rape and the punishment for the same.

Chemical castration means “the administration of medication designed to reduce libido and sexual activity” unlike the popular belief of removing testicles or sterilization. Many think it is the ideal retribution for a sex offender but a better understanding of rape reveals something else. Rape is not only sexual in nature. It is more than ‘sex without consent’. It is about anger, power and violence. It is less physical and more psychological, its repercussions are associated with trauma and self-doubt, not revenge. Castration does not counter the false belief, the illusion that a man is superior to a woman. It does nothing to change the mentality that promotes objectification of women. This would just remove the sexual part of the offence and not the deep psychological beliefs that need to be addressed.

One of the arguments which favor castration is that it will create fear in the mind of the potential rapist and will help reduce the crime rate. But unfortunately, this notion does not stand true. One does not commit a crime after weighing the sentence it will bring along. Rather, in some cases, it will motivate the rapist to kill the victim to eliminate the chances of being caught. If not killed, the victim will be threatened and pressurized to stay silent. Hence reducing the number of cases reported, which already is very low.

Even from a rational perspective, chemical castration is not feasible. The process requires administering the drug after regular intervals. Considering India, where basic health care for every Indian is still a distant dream, spending a fortune on a punitive punishment does not make sense. To add to this, the efficiency of chemical castration is doubted. It does not always help in reducing a man’s sexual desires, leading to a waste of effort, resources and purpose.

I know there is anger. You, me and every concerned citizen is angry but this is not the solution. An eye for an eye will make the world blind. One may say, what is the solution, then? The solution lies in teaching every male to respect their female counterparts. It lies in removing the growing disparity between a man’s’ standing in the society as compared to a woman. It lies in ending the culture of objectifying women in any manner. It lies in gender sensitization, it lies within all of us. It is a long process and perhaps will take time but that’s the only permanent solution to this problem.

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  1. Aditi Thakker

    Agreed. Also if someone is chemically castrated, they can still molest people.

  2. Pritam

    Agree with your point that such a punishment can instigate the rapist to murder the victim if fear of getting caught. The solution is indeed respect for women but there is a root cause to this. Talking from economic viewpoint, ethics, morality and ideologies can be taught only when there is financial prosperity in the society. In the next 10 years, 900 million people will be in the working age group in India. Imagine a society where a large number of youth are uneducated and unemployed. What do you expect from them? This will make a country full of hooligans. Statistics say that when any country goes through economic depression the crime rate increases.

    The first step I will say is economic development through proper government policies.

  3. Saumya Sahni

    This is indeed true that chemical castration might induce the rapist to kill the victim. But so will a death penalty. We need to somehow induce the fear among rapists which we have not been able to do so far.

  4. Shanthi Cheriyan

    I do agree that chemical castration or death penalty is not the solution. It will not put an end to increasing rape cases nor will it end them from molesting other women later. But people don’t demand these thinking this is the solution, but just so that offender would know the trauma that the victim went through. True, it is eye for an eye. But many of us do not have a forgiving heart to merely let them get away with 5 or 7 years’ imprisonment.

  5. Mani

    its true that we need a permanent solution for this malice. The solution suggested by you appears to be one but the fact is rape is happening every day and we can’t wait for the time when our ideological solutions bear fruits.
    Question today is :while professing and practicing a perennial solution what can we do to stop rape ,this day ,this hour!!!

    1. Dheera

      I go through the same conflict every time I think about it. But how can get a quick fix of a problem which has been there in our society, in ourselves for centuaries. Its in our DNA. It cant be changed this day, this hour. Unfortunately.

  6. Twiggy

    Very thoughtful. Also insightful; this is perhaps the only piece I have read that talks about the details of chemical castration. There are many who have been demanding that punishment without any awareness about how it works, though I cannot say they are wrong. Rage makes people (and me!) act without thinking, but the rage is justified.

    However, while your rejection of the idea of chemical castration is based on logical grounds, how practical is the solution you have suggested later? No doubt, that is what is required in the long haul.. isn’t equality the ultimate goal in society? But in this case we’re talking about a process that will take decades. Perhaps centuries. Breaking down and reworking the entire fabric of society cannot be achieved overnight. Yes, we have to work towards it. But can we wait this long to curb the increasing crime rate? What you talk about can be achieved only when we raise an entire generation of men who are taught to respect women right from the beginning. Why just men? Even women need to learn a lot. But don’t you think we need something more.. drastic at this point? Something that won’t scare you or me at the thought of having a baby girl three years down the line?

    You can call it an eye for an eye. You could call it justice. I am not suggesting castration here. But at least treat rapists like the menace to society that they are. Faster convictions, stricter legislations. Treat molestation, eve teasing and stalking as serious crimes. Only once you instill the fear of law enforcement and conviction can you think about reforming society. We can work on the next generation, but right now we need something more urgent and serious.

    1. Dheera

      I totally agree with your view. it is justice.

  7. Anirudh G

    I totally agree with the views expressed in the above post …Best solutions are well thought out and permanent…taking steps and working towards changing our attitude and thoughts will also bring a greater change which is required

  8. Ravi Singh

    Chemical castration is costly, temporary and the rapist may still reoffend. Surgical castration and penectomy with urethral reroute would be more effective.

  9. vidushi

    Being a gender studies student I agree to wtever u hv said…
    Because it is the individual change is wt we need..
    No cops security checks , women helplines, women cabs, GPS equipped public transport are sufficient as these are Preventive measures from the society’s side, contributions from the individual’s side needs to be in practice as well.

  10. Nitin

    Because you are a woman, you may not realize the effect of castration. Castration to men is what rape is for a women. Thing is its not the educated class that needs to be taught about respecting women, female body and hideousness of rape, but the uneducated poor class. I prefer normal state authorized punishment for criminals but castration for rapist is an apt punishment.

    I hear this a lot – fear of killing the victim. I say this – death for rape, castration in your case and painful death in case of killing the victim. The idea is to instill fear in the heart of perpetrators, and preventing the crime from happening again. Thing is castration works as in arab countries. But castration is dangerous because although we save the cost of keeping him away from jail, such a person is still a danger to the society. However it is also effective because a man without his penis is emotionally broken, and can never live a normal life like his victim.

    1. Dheera

      First and foremost,castration is not the removal the penis.ITS IS NOT THE REMOVAL OF PENIS.READ IT CAREFUL. Secondly, here we are talking about justice and not “tit for tat You raped me,so i will castrate you”. And mind you, fear is temporary, you may fear something now but the time when the fear is gone, we are back to square again. And what is “your case”????Also a victim cant live a normal life?? They can if the society allows them to live freely rather thank looking down upon them. It is people like you and your stereotype which makes it difficult for the victim to outgrown the incident.

    2. Nitin

      Short answers to your questions – CASTRATION IS REMOVAL OF PENIS. change your dictionary. My version of justice is never tit for tat (3rd para). Pain is something you can never get used to and fear works, it is progressive and effective. You live your life in positive beliefs and hope and expect a society to be caring and loving; whereas I think practical and radical.

      I NEVER SAID VICTIM. I was talking about the effectiveness of castration, and was referring to the rapist, who wont be able to live a normal life. A castrated rapist is going to have a very hard time living and making am earning. The problem is not people like me but people like you who just skim through comments, have nothing constructive to say, blame existing system and think for hours only to conclude – ‘what now, we are back to square one’. Now let me tell you my version of what JUSTICE is, and for people like you who dont have brains but can talk for hours( I call them back to square one people):

      Its never about tit for tat, nor about pain of the criminal, and I dont believe in Gandhi’s quote – An eye for eye makes whole world blind. Thing is I have heard and now believe that to be raped is the biggest fear for a lady – more than being killed or losing a loved one. So us the educated men bear this responsibility of ensuring the safety of 50% of population. We are not brave enough to fight or even stop the barbarism of uneducated men. May be a jail time for perpetrator is enough for victim but what castration will do is along with destroying the life of criminal it will also infuse a fear in the minds of any future criminals. Also I dont support castration for any other crime but for rape.

      PS: Also Teressa please explain how am I a stereotype

    3. Nitin

      When I said victim not being able to live a normal life, I was taking her perspective into account and not of society. Ours is a mature society and we dont look down on a rape victim (in movies and for AIS victim yes). I dont think there will be a problem with marriage, kids, carrier, friends and family. The reason for her not being able to live a normal life ( meaning life not staying same) is because of sympathy she will be attracting rather than those of normal ones.

    4. saniya d

      Mr Nitin you have to first know why those women demanding castration…main reason is that envy of male organ and you know that it is true? Who can give guarantee that after chemical castration that criminal will not attack the victim again? why the women are targeting male organ first this you have to know …search the internet and you will find the reason.. These women speak in such a way that they are the pillars of the truth.. And do not trust these women who are the destroyer of the society.why?
      I am astonished that women are claiming chemical castration and not death penalty..why? Isn’t women are afraid of these type of rapist or criminals.. isn’t it?? Then why women are claiming to castrate these type of criminals and keep them alive ? Is there any advantage of keeping these type of criminals alive ?Or they are envy of male genitals ?(according to sigmund freud..Known as the father of psychoanalysis). ..There is more danger to keep them alive because he can harm again or take revenge in any manner? Then why? In my opinion the rapist must get death penalty or lifetime imprisionment(nearly 50 yrs.). The criminal will come out from the jail as an aged man.
      Another problem will arise and not as simple but like severe when there will be false case against men and it already proved by the supreme court for many false alligation on men ( so some changes have been made in the law for against domestic violence for women).. who will take responsibility if false case charged upon men ? The man will be uncastrated? or the woman will be castrated?(bcause false many cases have been made

    5. rocky das

      Mr Nitin you can’t got their intention? They want the rapist stay alive.why? For their next revenge? .funny..

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