Lately I've been considering the subject of child abuse and rape, and I've been trying to look at it from a rational standpoint. I know that the words rational and child and rape don't belong in the same sentence together but hear me out.
A lot of people think the rape of a child is the height of evil and I'm one of them, so I've been pondering the punishment of this act to determine where my own personal morality lies when it comes to justice. I think this introspection is important if I'm going to make a principled and consistent stance on things such as torture and imprisonment without trial. I've thought long and hard and the more I consider I come to the conclusion that it's impossible to react rationally to such irrational acts. That I think disturbs me the most.
To me the ideal punishment of a child rapist is one chosen by the victim. I've never had the misfortune of being in a situation where a rape victim was a close friend or relative, but I think that there is likely a feeling of helplessness and lack of control felt by the victims and their family. Letting those most effected by the rape choose the punishment seems so fitting. If the victim wants the rapist killed or castrated then let it be so, but if the victim doesn't want another person's death to weigh on their conscience after such a brutal event then I think it should be their choice what is done instead.
The problem is, such things are rarely so cut and dried. What happens when there are multiple victims? What if some are dead, or unable to make a rational decision? I considered the idea of letting the family decide the punishment for rapists of children under 12, but what father is capable of being rational in the face of the rapist of his baby girl? He'd go for death every time, likely at his own hands and to hell with what anyone else thought. He'd kill that fucker every time, even at the risk of alienating his entire family in doing so.
Those are just some of the aspects I've contemplated on the subject, and the conclusion I've came to is this:
Rape punishments need to be harsher, with the sentence potentially being death. However, I believe that the victim deserves the chance to weigh-in on the sentence. If there are multiple victims that cannot agree then the standard sentence is handed out. If the victim requests a lighter than standard punishment, then the rapist is lucky I guess, and if the victim wants a harsher sentence, then their request should certainly be considered and met as often as possible.
I don't feel particularly reassured by my conclusion though…