The medical punishment for rape


Chemical castration, one of the provisions in the draft bill being finalised by the Congress for tackling crimes against women, is a medical procedure that reduces sexual urges and arousal in a human being, whether a man or woman. The introduction of chemicals hampers the functioning of the circulating sex hormones, and makes a man incapable of rape.

One of the earliest and most famous subjects of chemical castration was mathematician Alan Turing, the man who defined algorithms and fathered a prototype of the computer. He was punished in 1952 for homosexuality, then a crime in the UK.

The chemicals most commonly used in this punishment, long prevalent for sexual crimes in many countries, are cyproterone acetate (in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Canada) and medroxyprogesterone (in the United States). The former is administered as weekly injections while the effect of the latter lasts for up to three months.

While the jury is still out on the human rights angle of it, and whether it is right to expose a man to the side effects of introducing antagonists of male hormones into his body, there is ample medical literature to support its use in sexual criminals. Studies have found the success rates of physical and chemical castration were comparable.

In an article in the British Medical Journal in 2010, UK researchers wrote: " Antiandrogenic drugs and physical castration undoubtedly reduce sexual interest (libido) and sexual performance, and they reduce sexual reoffending. Physical castration of sex offenders was carried out in several European countries in the first part of the 20th century... recidivism rates of less than 5% over long follow-up periods are invariably reported, compared with expected rates of 50% or more. Studies of the use of antiandrogenic drugs report similar efficacy, and a large meta-analysis of treatment in sex offenders found that 'organic' interventions (surgical castration and hormones) reduce recidivism much more than any other treatment approach (although the authors found that nowadays drugs are usually used alongside psychological treatment)."

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