Extra judicial killing is not tenable under a civilised setting. However, what will be the normal reaction of a common person when he or she gets news of death of a rapist in extra judicial killing? At such news, he or she becomes delighted in his or her subconscious mind. Nowadays, some Facebook pages and comments openly acclaim extrajudicial killings of persons accused of rape. I noticed an online news portal carrying a title – “We want such extrajudicial killings of rapists in thousands”.
How will you depict and describe the above demand? Are these people insane that they are overtly advocating extrajudicial killings of rapists? Can a sane person remain sane when he or she sees on the newspaper that a child has been ravished by a mature man? Recently, in India, a number of rapists have been lynched publicly after being insulted to the fullest. Though such news items indicate a kind of lawlessness, many people like such types of news only because they abhor rape. These people put forward the rationale that the rapists do not deserve any fair trial.There is the danger of innocent people being killed in such extrajudicial killings. However, what proposition can one have or hold in the face of spate of rape of children? I fail to understand how God, the Almighty, can forbear the inexplicable pains of children at the time of rapes by animals masqueraded as men. In fact, calling such people animals is an insult for the animals as the latter are at least not cruel with animal kids.
Does our society not have anything concrete and effective to do to stem the flow of rape? Maybe, hundreds of columns have been written against rape. I also fail to understand why our female big shots do not get perturbed at the news of rapes of children. Why don’t they give orders to the security personnel to pounce on the rapists with all their might? Our police bully the extremists every now and then and they have attained fair amount of success in suppressing militancy in Bangladesh.
However, why don’t they take rape seriously? Is it for the fact that their children are out of the reach of the rapists? Meanwhile, China has the law of punishing the rapist immediately with a death sentence and, in some cases, rapists are also punished by the mutilation of their genitals. Though this punishment seems rather savage, is it not befitting for the people who inflict women and girls with cruellest form of crime?
In Iran, a rapist is either hanged or shot to death in public. In fact, the rapist is hanged at public places so that people can see for themselves the result of this heinous crime. Sometimes the guilty may escape the death penalty. However, that is possible only after getting permission from the victim but is still liable for 100 lashes or life imprisonment. In Netherlands, any kind of sexual assault, even including a French kiss without the consent of one is considered a rape.
The rapist is punished with imprisonment ranging from 4 to 15 years depending on the age of convict. Interestingly, even a sexual assault on a prostitute will lead to an imprisonment of 4 years in Netherlands and this is very much justified. However, most of the countries are not concerned about the sexual assault on prostitutes. In France, the rapist is punished with 15 years of jail time with torture which can be extended to 30 years or a lifetime imprisonment depending upon the extent of damage caused to the victim.
The striking feature of the punishment in France is that the rapists are not only kept confined in jails, they are also inflicted with torture so that they can repent for their crimes in the real sense of the term. Despite being ruled by a maverick dictator, North Korea has no leniency for the crime like rape. Instant justice is awarded to the rape victim by shooting the rapist in the head by a squad. There are, however, allegations that dissidents are also executed under the pretexts of rapes in North Korea.As North Korea is a closed society, it is not always easy to get the proof of victimisation of dissidents as rapists. Though not regarded as a civilised setting by the western society, justice is given to the victim in Afghanistan in just four days by shooting the rapist in the head. If a person is convicted of rape, then he is executed in public within days of the trial. Isn’t it a due and exemplary punishment?
In UAE, the punishment of sexual assault or rape is death by hanging. There is no compensating, you rape and you die within 7 days. In Saudi Arabia, rapists are beheaded after a very speedy trial. Thieves, bandits and other types of criminals commit crimes for which they deserve due punishment. Though their crimes cannot be ignored, the reasons and circumstances of their crimes need to be seen at times. At times, circumstances force them to go for committing such crimes.
Though these crimes are harmful for the sufferers and the society, rape has very different types of consequences for the victims. They undergo physical, psychological and social losses for being raped. Some even commit suicide after being raped. I believe every sane and humane human being finds rape to be the worst form of crimes as it is akin to killing the victim psychologically. However, the victim must not be stigmatised socially as she has no part in it.
Thus, the need for meting out befitting punishment to the rapists is a crying one. There cannot be disagreement about awarding drastic punishment for the rapists. The punishment, through speedy trial, may include a provision by which the rapists will no longer remain capable of committing another rape in addition to lifetime rigorous imprisonment, rather than death sentence. The objective should be to make the rapist feel the pain of his crime until death. This will give him time to repent as well. A severe punishment at a public place may also be mulled.
The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, Chittagong University. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org