I do not agree with Anup Surendranath’s views in the article “Castration is not the right legal response” (Dec. 24). Even if rape is more about power and intimidation and less about sex, would not the prospect of castration hurt the male ego and prove a deterrent? I fail to understand why castration is unconstitutional when violence against women is “acceptable” in that society tolerates it. I agree that it is important for society to change but we also need an efficient judicial mechanism.
Ankita Singh, New Delhi
While there are different reasons for rape, the end result is the same. The child, girl or woman is violated in the cruellest way and remains scarred for the rest of her life. To her, the hair-splitting arguments over why she was raped would not only make no sense but also exacerbate her agony.
Measures such as altering the mindset of men will take decades, if not centuries. One cannot wait forever. Short-term solutions in the form of punishments that go beyond what are sanctioned by law today are the need of the hour. If castration or death is not deterrent enough, then let us abolish the entire criminal justice system because thefts, murders, cheating and other crimes have not diminished in spite of punishment over centuries.
Subramanyam Sridharan, Chennai
Castration need not be seen as a means to address only the sexual element in rape. It is also a deterrent. In addition to life imprisonment, rapists should be made to undergo irreversible castration. It is society’s worship of masculinity that leads a man to resort to rape as an instrument of humiliation.
A widely publicised castration will ensure the humiliation of the rapist. Some may say this would amount to “revenge.” But given the magnitude of the crime, it is important to make an example of rapists.
Raghav Sharma, Jaipur
Mr. Surendranath’s arguments against castration are justified in terms of legality and narrow conception of rape. But from a victim’s point of view, the crime calls for a similar punishment. The least castration would ensure is that the rapist will not repeat the crime.
It may be tit-for-tat but retaliation should be the underlying principle when it comes to punishment for heinous crimes.
Ashwin Kurian, Hyderabad
I think rape is about both sexual urge and the kick derived from being able to dominate. The power dimension is not female-specific but the carnal dimension thrives on the woman’s physiological vulnerability. The kick comes from the man’s ability to force sex on unwilling females. The two dimensions are thus inextricably linked. Both are primeval urges and are bound to find expression in societies which are iniquitous and feudal, and where the rule of law is not uniformly enforced.
As far as an effective law is concerned, the solution lies in punishment that can severely shame the offender. From this standpoint, castration does address both dimensions in one stroke. The offender is made to feel worthless.
Ashok Nayar, Kochi
I agree that castration is not a solution to the larger question of violence against women. A solution would require a comprehensive change in the mentality of the populace.
But I still support castration as a legal response. A rapist does not deserve to enjoy his sexuality any further, no matter what category of rapists he falls under.
Josephine Varghese, Kochi
Punishment or castration would be a short-term solution. Agreed, severe punishment for rape would send a chill down the spine of criminals. But a criminal will eventually figure out ways of saving himself from punishment. What our society needs is moral education.
It is we who have corrupted the value system. Let us take responsibility for our acts and make efforts to correct the system.
Vbhu Malhotra, New Delhi