Women’s bodies as the new reason to kill ? Stop this Insanity !

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Shame on you Times of India. Take down the Advertisement the Poll and apologize. And you have kept barabaric options of bobbitization and chemical castration.


Parliamentarians should shout for JUSTICE and Convictions , instead of saying things like ‘zinda lash’ (living corpse) and asking for death penalty.

Chemical castration breaches the physical intrinsity of the human body. As we have abolished physical penalties (chopping off hands, beatings etc), why would we re-introduce . Since castration is irreversible, should this penalty be allowed, especially as our judicial system has been proven to be wrong every now and then. And tell me how will it work ? you will have to give injections fo depo vera— every time a rape is committed, there will someone running behind the rapist on road to inject him ???

WITH THIS WHOLE CLAMOUR OF DEATH PENALTY, All the Politician sitting in our parliament are superficial people , the media wants more eyeballs and suddenly we have this knee jerk reaction to gang rape coming out in form of REVENGE and not JUSTICE. What a twisted logic is that capital punishment will be an effective deterrent to potential rapists. The quantum of punishment does not deter crime. In fact, the higher the punishment, the lower the conviction rate.is required is speedy trial. Ensure speedy trials. That would deter would-be rapists.

If rape and violence against women are not rare but occur within every class, and at a variety of junctures, making the offense itself almost ordinary by nature of its frequency of occurrences, then to accord the death penalty for such cases would simply reduce convictions .Before the death penalty get the convictions right.

The convictions against cases of violence against women, especially rape cases are themselves extremely complex and pivot around the nuanced issues of consent/force. It is never a simple and straightforward matter to determine whether the woman had consented. From the beginning? At what point otherwise? To what extent was she willing to have physical relations with a man? But at which point did it become force or coercion? The entire issue of violence against women is not easily amenable to legalistic jargon that makes claims to truth “based on a binary logic which sets up oppositions like truth/untruth, guilt/innocence, consent/non-consent. This binary logic is completely inappropriate to… the ambiguity of rape.’

The point is “Death Penalty” to rapists is a reinforcement of the same “honour-shame” syndrome. Moreover why will the rapist not get rid of all possible evidence, which might take him towards death penalty? Yes, I mean why will he not kill the rape survivor in the end of the day? Moreover why should we go by the Sexual Hierarchy set by our patriarchal society? A sexual assault is a sexual assault and can’t be judged by the parameters of “penetration” alone. A Trauma is a trauma and can’t be judged by the parameters of “Honour” and “Shame”. In the end no woman loses her “honour” when she is raped. She loses it when she allows her mind to believe it.

The ideological underpinnings of the demand for the death penalty for rape reflect the traditional patriarchal and reactionary view of women as property. Rape is seen not as an assault on the integrity of the women as assaulted, but far more as an assault of the community, of society, of the nation.The demand for death penalty hides certain power relations and assumptions made by those advocating the death penalty. Furthermore, they point to the fact that bringing in the death penalty for rape will not in anyway increase convictions, but may lower the already very low-levels of convictions because of fear to convict any rapist incase of error.

The death penalty weighs the scales of justice heavily in favour of the state by giving the state legally sanctioned power over the life and death of its citizens. Such power all too often is used arbitrarily; it is applied neither uniformly nor fairly, even in cases of the same nature and severity. In many cases, the decision to apply the death sentence is driven by issues other than the crime itself.

By playing to the desire for revenge in individual cases, states in which the death penalty is used ignore difficult questions about the relationship between crime, the criminal and the state. A fake sense of moral superiority is thus sustained as culpability is shifted from formal and informal social, political and economic structures of domination and oppression, solely to the accused.

Hence for me , a FEMINIST , these promises of security, better safety and liberty have been questionable and problematic. It hides the strong link between justice and the state and how justice may operate to benefit certain parties only. The use of women’s bodies and the category of violence against women to insist on the death penalty is a manipulation of the feminist agenda and its concern for women into a tool by others (including but not exclusively the state) to control and discipline its citizens further.

As suggested by Foucault, the prison itself maybe a new way of ordering society, of disciplining it and creating new forms of docile bodies constituted in such a way as to make the power of the state and certain groups more effective. It is important then to rethink forms of correction and punishment to ensure that those convicted of crimes are not merely placed in another institution in which power is even more insidious than even the death penalty or public executions.

  • Punishment should be always proportional to the crime. Death penalty is an extreme punishment, banned in many countries for killing another person. For too often an innocent has been killed for no fault of his! Judicial determinations have never been perfect, as all human decision making processes are error prone! What we need to do is have more judges sitting on benches and citizen receive speedy justice. There is too much of “Justice delayed is justice denied” going on in India.
    Indian governments needs to spend more on justice rather than give room for “Justice delayed is Justice denied” to flourish in almost all court appearances. No more than three or four court appearances should be necessary to get a judgment.