Castration as Punishment For Rapists: A Second look at the Issue
Rape is one of the social vices bedevilling our society today. The Longman dictionary of contemporary English defines rape as “the crime of forcing someone to have sex, especially by using violence.” The last few weeks has witnessed a rising number in the reported cases of rape and other sexual violence around the country which has sparked many other revelations, after victims took to twitter to speak out after years of silence.
Some of the cases includes the gang-rape of a 16 year old teenager by 5 boys in Narayi part of Kaduna; a 12 year old in Lagos, rape and murder of 22 year old in Benin amongst others and most recently, the rape and murder of a female student in Ibadan, Oyo state capital. Recently, amidst the revelations, many have been agitating for a suitable punishment for culprits or those found guilty. A man who raped a two-year old to death in 2015 was sentenced to death by hanging recently in Zaria. Following the rising number of reported cases alongside revelations of many rape victims, the social media space has been booming with discussions and suggestions amongst which many proposed death or castration. In line with current suggestions as proposed by many individuals and both civil society organizations as well as non-governmental organizations, a member of the house of representatives, Mr James Faleke on thursday made a recommendation while the house was attending to the rising cases of rape in the country. The member recommended Castration as penalty for individuals found guilty of rape. During the session, the speaker asked a crucial question that revealed a sad fact. The Speaker asked -what will happen to an older female who rapes a younger male? This question generated so much noise in the chamber and subsequently, the recommendation was eventually voted out. The noise and especially outrage that followed as a result of this conclusion engulfed the social media. I went through quite a number of pages and status update on my social media and 95% of those advocating against rape painted the females as the victims. In fact, in some cases where the males had questioned their opinions, it resulted in a long heated argument which ended up with such males being labelled as lacking self- control, or heartless; caped up with a wish for a member of his family to fall victim. I see how emotional our female folks get when the topic comes up, and no doubt, they constitute majority of the victims, but that’s not all. There are males who have been raped by females. Sounds surprising? Yes, but there are! I was once told the story of a Man who worked as a security guard in an all-girls boarding school in the north, who got gang-raped by female students of the said school at night. One reason why such reports never make it to the authorities, may be because in a Man’s world, such report will only make matters worse for the man. He may hardly be able to convince anyone, because the society views the male as strong, always sexually active and willing to take on any sexual challenge posed before him. So, any report that paints a man less than that, paints him as a weakling in the eyes of the society and this could lead to a very strong case of stigmatization which never looks good on neither the Man, his fellow men nor even the female folks. So, if the penalty proposed by highly emotional and less reasonable minds could have gone through, I doubt if they ever thought of the equivalent punishment on females found guilty, because the law is blind to emotions and the scale of justice must at all times, be balanced. My conclusion is that lets together kick against the crime on rape and understand that Victims as well as perpetrators includes both sexes – Male and female and as such, everyone should be mindful of their emotions to ensure it doesn’t becloud reason.
By Jerry S. Nmodu Jerrietalks@yahoo.com