Why Castration Would Still Not Guarantee Our Safety
The African National Congress Women's League has called for chemical castration for sexual offenders, but this will not make us safe at all.
The African National Congress Women's League has called for few recommendations on how sexual offenders should be dealt with. The recommendations include: life imprisonment without parole, no bail, and chemical castration.
Although South Africa's constitution is one of the best constitutions, it does not seem to be too farfetched to think that our constitution seems to have some weaknesses. One of the weaknesses which our constitution has is that it seems to be too soft on convicted criminals. There is a saying in South Africa that, "The people in prison are more free than we who are on the outside." So yes, the justice system of our land should work on imposing much more strict rules which focus on making sure that harming the rights of others is a serious crime which will not be taken lightly. But I do think that while we focus on addressing the justice system, we should also focus on our societies as well.
The recommendations come after the headlines were dominated by femicide and gender based violence. When one studies the statistics of South Africa in terms of femicide, it seems to be that we live in a land that does not protect nor value women and children. Usually when we discuss the issues of rape, we often talk of the things we should do in order to avoid being victims of such atrocities. But it seems to be that the people we trust to be protecting, serving, and loving us are the ones who cause our unhappiness. The places we thought are safe have indeed turned to be our cemeteries. As a woman you cannot but wonder if your mere existence awakens demons in others. When we walk in our beloved country we walk quickly, we hold our belongings tightly, we constantly look over and we pray that we arrive wherever you are going safely. But when your prayers are not answered, you wonder: "Do I serve a lesser God?" We are scared and we do not know who to turn to and who to trust.
We are a part of society that shows no mercy to victims. Studies show that women who are sexually assaulted are often not eager to report the crime committed against them, and we know why. It is unfortunate that when women report crimes committed against them they are asked: "Why were you walking alone at that time?" "What were you wearing?" "How can your husband rape you?" We are part of a society which knows the sexual offenders who live among us, and we accommodate, tolerate, and protect them. Yet we do the greatest injustice to the victims. We choose not to believe them; we disregard their pain. We ignore their hurt and we alienate them.
Castration is a procedure which makes men lose the ability to use their testicles: gonad. Surgical castration is when both the testes of the male are removed. On the other hand, chemical castration is when pharmaceutical drugs are used to deactivate the testes. The side effects of chemical castration includes a diminished sex drive and low libido. The low levels of the male hormone testosterone leads to lower levels of frequency, strength, and duration of erections. However, studies have shown that some men still experience the same levels of sex drive and libidos after chemical castration.
However, chemical castration will definitely not guarantee our safety as women. Rape is not an issue of sex; it is an issue of someone imposing their power through the use of sex. When we think of chemical castration as a solution to the problem of sexual crimes, we imply that sexual violation takes place only through the use of genitals, and that sexual violation simply takes place because of high sex drives. A person may be violated in ways that are not limited to their genitals.
As a society, we need to be more honest, responsible, and caring towards one another. We need to support those we know have been sexually assaulted, provide our shoulders for them to cry on, and to be their voices of change. We need to educate ourselves about the psychology of rape, and we need to be a society which does not tolerate rape at all.