Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Rapists should be Castrated- By Prof. Alex O. Atawa Akpodiete


Experts have agreed that rape is one of the most heinous personal crimes. In fact, it has been used by warlords as a weapon of psychological warfare with the primary aim of leaving permanent and demoralizing scars on the victims.

There are many gray areas as to what constitutes rape actually. It is defined as “sexual intercourse with someone either by force or coercion. In 1927, the US govt came up with a uniform definition of rape. The law then defined rape as "the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will." Many countries go as far as broadening it to include sex with a minor, defined sometimes as a child below 16yrs of age. That is usually known as “statutory rape.” There have been many instances of a young girl going out with a seemingly handsome & innocuous young man, only for her to wake up violated. Unbeknownst to her, the young man had slipped a drug into her cocktail while they were out for a drink. We have come up with the euphemistic term “date rape” to qualify an otherwise barbaric & debilitating event.

Also, with the prevalence of sodomy, it could also include forcible anal penetration unless used for punishment. In fact, I knew a girl in the islands that was raped by a guy. In revenge, she arrange for other guys to sodomize her offender.

Additionally, there are several questions such as can a husband rape his wife? Christians will rely on the biblical passage that “a wife's body does not belong to her.” To be specific, 1Corinthians 7:4 states “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” In other words, it goes both ways. A wife cannot deny the husband sex and a husband cannot deny the wife sex. You can extend it further to mean that a married person who commits adultery is giving away something that does not belong to him/her. It also means that a married woman cannot have an abortion without the husband consent and cannot say my body belongs to me and I can do what I choose to do with it.

Furthermore, is it possible for a woman to rape a man? It has been argued widely whether or not a woman can rape a man. In fact, there is even a Jamaican stage play with the same title that I watched in Miami some years back. While rape is a serious matter with emotional and physical scars, the Director tried to hilariously treat a sensitive subject.

In fact in January 6 this year, CNN reported that the US Justice Department has listed to an FBI advisory panel and expanded the definition of rape as "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim."

This article focuses narrowly on the issue of a man raping a woman and proffers a solution. It is recommended that rapist be castrated. They can volunteer or it could be court ordered. I know some human rights activists will start shouting, but what about the human rights of the victims. We should try a balancing act, but not at the detriment of the innocent victims.

In Germany, there is a voluntary procedure for castration of sex offenders. It is a rare surgical procedure that only about 5 sex offenders per annum opt for, according to the government. Although the procedure is not in the guidelines of International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders (IATSO), the German government claims it is not a punishment but treatment for abnormal sex drive. Of the 104 sex offenders castrated between 1970 and 1980, only 3% (less than 4) re-offended or are at least caught, as compared with 50% ratio of those who were not castrated. This means that there may be some psychosomatic aspect to rape that makes the rapists act the way they do. Experts have argued that rape is not as much a crime of sex, as it is a crime of power.

Recently, some criminals terrorized a village in the Southeast by raping some widows, not only once, but twice within a two week period. The impunity of the criminals was only matched by that of their supposed sponsors. These dastardly criminals even raped women old enough to be their grandmothers and did it with audacity. They have thrown our African values out the window.

The only way to check this behavior is to castrate not only the offenders, but also their sponsors. You can only imagine the number of castrated men that will be running around Nigeria. Nonetheless, it will be deterrence to others.

Unfortunately, there are lots of unreported cases in Nigeria, partly due to our porous environment. Even in more civilized countries, the statistics are skewed. There were 84,767 cases of rape reported in 2010 in US, meaning a forcible rape occurred every 6.2 seconds in America.

Dictionary.com states the following:
“A woman who has been raped often encounters painful and humiliating procedures when she reports her sexual assault. She is sent to a hospital emergency room where she may wait a long time for a medical examination and the collection of evidence that is needed to convict a suspect. She often has little privacy while she waits. In addition, she is asked to tell her story of sexual assault several times. The National Victim Center estimates that only 16 percent of rapes in the United States are reported each year. This low reporting rate can be attributed in part to the cold, impersonal reporting process and the rape victim's fear of appearing at the trial of the suspect. A program called SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners), established in Tulsa, Oklahoma and several other U.S. cities, seeks to treat the emotional, physical, and legal needs of rape victims with greater consideration and sensitivity. In the SANE program, female nurses are trained to handle the physical examination of the victim and to obtain physical evidence using a sexual offense collection kit. In addition, the nurses are taught to interview the victim about the assault and to keep good records, which are critical to a successful criminal prosecution of the suspect.”

So, as stated above, if we encouraged reporting of rape, treated the victims with sensitivity, prosecuted the perpetrators and castrate them if convicted, we will have a society where women feel secure and live with dignity.

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