L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

23 July 2007 Blog Home : July 2007 : Permalink

Dealing With Rapists

The part of the feminist cause I have most sympathy with is when they talk about rape. It seems to me that the Criminal Justice system in most countries fails to treat the crime properly. Last week the police in the UK decided not to get on TV to search for a rapist because of a potential racist backlash (via Tim Blair). If, say the crime were murder or attempted murder would we be worrying about the potential for a racist backlash? if some white skinhead was wanted for queerbashing would we worry about unfairly stereotyping skinheads? Yet it seems that if all you are doing is raping the odd woman then we need to take these exteraneous factors into consideration. (Un)fortunately the UK are not alone in this kind idiocy.

Patterico and a bunch of others are quite rightly incensed about a case where a Liberian immigrant suspected of raping a 7 year old child (repeatedly) has been let off from having a trial because it has taken too long to come to court. Then there is Japan where, as Japundit points out, gang rapists get a reduction in sentence because their victim was drunk.

This last one leads me to a point where I have some sympathy (limited but some). There are undoubtedly cases where there are mitigating circumstances, although gang rapes aren't usually going to be among them. In cases where you have two people going consensually back to one room after a night out and then there isn't a major outcry at the time I think the rapist probably deserves some mercy because drunk people do stupid things. However, and I'll make it clear here, I'd put the bar for drunken misunderstandings pretty damn high.

It also occurs to me that we treat rapists to the wrong sort of justice. Take Rachel's case. As she explains in this other post, the rapist showed no sign of remorse or anything other than some sort of regret at being caught. Putting someone like that in prison is unlikely to help, other than stop them raping while in prison. It seems to me that the best use for such a piece of scum is as a lesson. Chris Dillow and Bishop Hill both suggest that corporal punishment, such as the stocks, would be good for some offenses (drunk & disorderlies, petty thefts). On that line I think rapists should be publicly castrated and then left to bleed out. No gags, no anaesthetics, just attach them and their wedding tackly to a guillotine and make them hold the (short) string that stops the blade from falling. When their arm tires out the blade falls. You could make a mint betting on how long they's survive and give 10% of the sum wagered to the victim(s). I'm sure that some people would say that this makes us more like Saudi Arabia or Iran. This is, as far as I can see, the only drawback.

By the way, on the plus side, having such a drastic punishment for rapists would probably stop a lot of the sorts of date rape I talk about above. Once you've had a few public castrations the average drunk is going to think a little harder about whether he wants to risk finding himself in the same boat. If at the same time it cut down on casual sex as a whole I can't see that as a negative either. I'm not some kind of puritan who thinks sex out of marriage should be banned, but I do think that wild promiscuity is a bad thing and that the pendulum has swung too far in that direction. Indeed, while you may or may not have reservations about sex on moral grounds, cutting down on casual sex would probably reduce the rate of STIs, something that Tim W reports have increased significantly over the last 10 years.