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Is castration solution to curb rape?

Archana Mishra, Jan 9, 2013 DHNS:
tough Law Chemical castration is being demanded as punishment for rape convicts.

It will soon be a month to the day, that the 23-year-old physiotherapy student was brutally raped. An incident which shook people out of their complacency to ask not only for justice for the victim, but also demand safety for girls and women in general.

But the case also highlighted another important aspect - that of the type of punishment that should be meted out to the accused. While many have mooted death penalty – voices have also been raised for chemical castration which renders a man impotent and decreases the libido.

This is being perceived as a solution to rising incidents of rape. At the same time the demand also questions the outlook towards rape as a crime. Is it just about forceful sex?

“Rape is much more than forcible sex,” says 25-year-old Gargi Mishra, who works in a financial organisation. “One cannot understand what a girl goes through her entire life after the heinous act.

She has to face lifelong humiliation which kills her every day. So it is necessary that those who make her life horrible, should face castration,” says Gargi. 

But do we realise that chemical castration can also lead to more violence in the man? “Be it chemical or surgical castration, the process is humiliation. We can bring down the level of hormones but it is not effective in controlling the rage of the criminal,” says Dr Pulkit Sharma, Clinical Psychologist at VIMHANS.

Since chemical castration involves injecting an anti-androgen drug for suppressing the production of testosterone, it is effective only as long as the drugs are administered.  Surgical castration is the removal of testosterone producing testes, doctors state that neither is an effective measure to control tendency of rape in violent men.

“The chemical process is reversible so the moment the dosage of anti-androgen is not given as per schedule, it  leads to production of testosterone,” says Dr Ashutosh Singh, urologist at Metro Hospital, Lajpat Nagar. “But if we go for surgical methods then definitely it brings down testosterone level but there are other psychological effects which can make criminals more violent.”

Both Ashutosh and Pulkit say that alternatives to castration should be considered too. “There can be other ways of punishing the criminals. Undoubtedly castration will develop fear but it cannot bring the crime rate down,” says Pulkit.


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