I’m not actually sure where I’m going with today’s post. I’ve got some ideas based on a discussion that’s been taking place on FaceBook, but they’re pretty vague and unformed at the moment, so I’ll just keep typing and see what happens.
(I think this might be what they call word vomit!)
There was a post in one of my FaceBook groups the other day about attitudes towards children’s behaviour, specifically about how boys behave towards girls, and it was quite eye-opening. The attitude was that a 4 year old who pulls a girls hair doesn’t know what he’s doing, the 11 year old who wrestles a girl to the ground is just being a boy, but a 17 year old who grabs a girl roughly by the arm … well, that’s absolutely not OK.
People, quite rightly, commented that the time to teach boys that this behaviour is not OK is when they’re 4 years old and pulling girls’ hair, and the discussion – inevitably, I think – moved on to rape, and the way society treats both victim and perpetrator.
For a group that consists of mostly young people, the discussion was very mature, and even though there were some strongly conflicting viewpoints, it was all handled in a non-aggressive way.
The problem I see with how society treats rapists (and most criminals, in fact) is that the focus is too much on punishment. The evidence is there that locking people up for committing crimes doesn’t help very much. Many people go on to reoffend when they are released, or even, if their crime was a relatively minor one in the first place, go on to commit more serious crimes. There were suggestions that violent or serial rapists should be locked up for life, but I really don’t see the point of that. Much as the whole notion of the death penalty disgusts me – what right do we think we have to take away people’s lives? – if you’re going to lock someone up for life, you might as well execute them. The end result is the same and, from a purely practical viewpoint, it’s a lot cheaper.
It seems to me that the problem starts with a revenge based justice system. Instead of asking, “How can we ensure this crime is never repeated?” we ask, “How can we make this person suffer for what they did?” Sure, we think we’re doing good by removing criminals from society, but unless we either rehabilitate them or keep them locked up for life (which I’ve already rejected as an option), we’re not solving the problem. And much as revenge may make us feel better in the short term, the only thing that will improve society in the long term is finding solutions to problems.
Then you have to start asking questions like, is rehabilitation an option? Can we rehabilitate people who have committed sex crimes? Do we have the resources to rehabilitate them? The answer to that last question is most likely, No. It takes a lot more time and money to rehabilitate someone than to lock them up for a while, and then let them go with the admonition to not do it again. And that’s if rehabilitation is even possible. In some cases, it probably isn’t.
So, what other options are there? If we’re looking for solutions, then maybe castration would be the answer. It would be relatively cheap, reliable, and would certainly provide an effective deterrent. And I can amuse myself with the idea in the knowledge that it’s something we believe ourselves far too civilised to ever consider. But would it really be such a bad thing? From the perspective of someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction and has absolutely no sex drive, I don’t see why it would be. It isn’t like we’d be taking away something that I consider a necessary part of life. And I think it’s fairly safe to say, it would solve the problem.