Is chemical castration the solution to violence against women?

The cases of robbery and rape are relentlessly increasing in Pakistan. PM Imran Khan has proposed chemical castration as a possible way out.

chemical castration

The cases of robbery and rape are relentlessly increasing in Pakistan. According to local media reports, a woman labourer was allegedly raped during a robbery in a Faisalabad neighbourhood yesterday. The incident occurred in Peoples Colony near Raja Chowk within the jurisdiction of Batala Colony police station where two suspected robbers raped the woman in front of her daughters, according to police. People are now mulling over an intriguing question: is the chemical castration only way forward?

This is the second incident of sexual abuse reported in Faisalabad in less than 24 hours. On Sept 17, a girl was reported to have been gang-raped by five men who abducted her from Jhang Road in Faisalabad area of the Punjab province.

Earlier, the case of a gang-rape on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway sent shockwaves across the country. A woman in early 30s, a resident of Lahore’s Defence Housing Society, was stuck on the motorway with her two children at around 1am after her car ran out of petrol. As she tried to arrange for help, two men approached her and took her and her children (below eight) into the nearby fields at gunpoint.

Prime Minister Imran Khan proposed chemical castration of rapists in an interview with a prominent anchorperson Dr. Moeed Pirzada last week. The premier said: “I think he (the rapist) should be hanged publicly. Rapists and child molesters should have public hanging. You do not know the real statistics as well, because it’s under-reported. People do not report it due to being scared or ashamed, women are ashamed, and no one wants to tell.”

Read More: How to protect women against violence in Pakistan?

He suggested instead that rapists and child molesters “undergo chemical castration, or surgery be performed so they cannot do anything in future.”

Is chemical castration a solution to violence against women?

Chemical castration uses anaphrodisiac drugs to reduce libido or sexual activity. It was first used in 1944. According to some media reports, Poland, Indonesia, South Korea, Russia, Moldova and Estonia have all introduced legislation to castrate pedophiles in the past decade.

Social sxperts believe that the castration (surgical or chemical) will lead to more violence in many other ways. Gulnara Aytnzhanova, a prominent psychologist, warned chemical castration would lead to pedophiles taking out their anger using violence. “There will be hatred, hatred to society, hatred to other people,” she predicted.

There is an argument that the PM’s approach is unlikely to yield the intended outcomes; reforming the system. Reforms are only effective when problems are carefully identified and plans are implemented to fix the system, said a social media user earlier this week.

Legal experts opine that public hanging and castration become useless if the system remains dysfunctional. Notably, the criminals’ strong belief that the system won’t punish them ever and the victims’ unshakable disbelief in the same system collaboratively cause chaos and social unrest. In Pakistan, the conviction rate in rape and sexual assault cases is abysmally low, under 3%, estimates the Karachi-based War Against Rape (WAR).

Read More: Rise of trafficking and domestic violence against women: How to stop it?

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