My Thoughts On Death Penalty For Child Rapists – #SuperBloggerChallenge2018 #InstaCuppa
Recently our nation was held in a thrall of shocked horror when we heard of an eight-year-old child, Asifa, being held captive for a week in a temple, drugged, gang-raped and finally murdered. All this in order to dissuade the members of a certain sect of the Muslim community, the Bakarwadis from continuing to reside in a heavily Hindu dominated area, Kathua in Jammu.
Only yesterday I came across another headline when it was mentioned that a 4-month-old baby was raped and murdered in UP. Rapes of juveniles are slowly losing their ability to shake us up. We are getting sensitized to this horrendous crime because every day we are hearing a new case being reported in the mainstream media. Rapes of minors are not only perpetrated by strangers but sometimes fathers, uncles, neighbors and other relatives are also guilty of it.
At a time when children should be playing hide and seek and eating blackberries from the hedge, we have to teach them the meaning of good touch and bad touch. Many of us are sending our children to Karate classes, out of sheer necessity. In India, a person whose age is less than eighteen is considered a minor. A young child is not mentally mature enough to understand the meaning of sexual intercourse fully. Rape of a woman, no matter what her age, is a violation of her rights and leaves her scarred for a lifetime. It is like plunging a dagger into a person’s soul.
Now when this act is perpetrated on a minor it becomes a million times worse as children do not have a grasp of the meaning of copulation. They are lost in a world of shame and bewilderment. They know something very bad has happened to them but they do not grasp the full meaning of how they have been violated.
Now, let us look at how this deviltry should be dealt with by the law. After the Nirbhaya case, the rape laws were tightened and on many famous cases, like that of the owner of the magazine Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, the defense lawyers claimed that the law was too stringent and was skewed too much in favor of women.
The woman’s word many people felt was taken for granted. Recently, the director of Peepli Live Mohammed Farooqui was acquitted of rape and one of the statements recorded in the judgment was indeed laughable. According to the judge, the woman in question had said no rather feebly to Farooqui’s advances. So our judges are also coining new terminology for how a woman has to say no to a man. It should not fall into the so-called feeble category.
This is ridiculous. What is a woman expected to do? As Faye De Souza of Mirror Now puts it, men have to understand that a no is a no is no. Period. When a woman says no, feebly or otherwise, the male in question can zip up his pants and leave.
Now, let us come down to the question of a suitable punishment for rapists of minors. Currently, if rape results in grievous injury or death then the mandatory sentence is twenty years rigorous imprisonment or the death penalty. After the Nirbhaya case, the law has been considerably tightened. In addition, the rules to prove rape have also been changed and theoretically, it is not possible for men to wriggle out on the basis of a technicality.
But despite this, we find excuses like a “feeble no” being touted by judges while acquitting men. A child, on the other hand, does not even know how to come out with a so-called “feeble no”. When a grown man rapes a minor he sears the child’s soul. The man is taking the child into uncharted depths of hell.
The child does not understand what is happening to her. And when a minor is raped by someone she trusts like a relative or an uncle and sometimes even her father the child’s trust is broken permanently. So what kind of punishment is suitable for this kind of depravity? In the case of Asifa, we can simply close our eyes and say the death penalty is too light. If it were possible to devise something worse I for one would gladly recommend it.
I am a feminist and believe strongly in justice and punishment suitable to the crime in question. Punishment should also act as a deterrent. Now, committing rape is bad enough but the rape of a minor is unspeakable. On the other hand, when you create laws, they are meant for the entire society as a whole and they are meant to govern the society. So we cannot close our eyes and recommend the death penalty without considering the merits and demerits no matter how terrible the crime.
It is important to consider the circumstances while sentencing a person. With that in mind, I have only this to say. In the case of a minor who has not yet attained puberty and the rape leaves the child maimed for life or even dead, then the death penalty is the only suitable punishment. But if the depravity of the perpetrator is not so horrendous and the minor is in a position to lead a healthy life with adequate counseling, then, I feel, rigorous imprisonment of twenty years depending on the age and health of the perpetrator, would be a suitable punishment.
While judging such cases judges have to take several things into consideration. Was it a gang-rape with a number of men participating and behaving utterly without a conscience as in the case of eight-year-old Asifa? If yes, the death penalty is the only solution. Was the perpetrator a close relative like the child’s father or an uncle or some other relative? The answers to all these questions have to be taken into account while awarding punishment.
I know many people would feel I am being too light on the perpetrators of heinous crimes but we have to understand that the law is meant for a purpose and not to vent our fury. While making laws that are going to govern a society we cannot close our eyes and act in rage. Laws have far-reaching consequences on the society. So, in conclusion, I would like to say this. Yes in the case of the rape of a minor, under certain circumstances the death penalty is the only solution.
But even here we have to be judicious in awarding the death penalty. Death is not a joke and care has to be taken to make sure that we do not overstep the mark out of fury.
Author’s Note: This article has been written as a part of SuperBloggerChallenge2018 conducted by Healthwealthbridge.com, Fashionablefoodz.com, Allaboutthewoman.com and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.