The Death Penalty for Child Rape?

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…

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2 Responses to The Death Penalty for Child Rape?

  1. I don't know anything about the Canadian system of justice, but in the States we do have something somewhat along the lines of what you're suggesting. There are parameters of punishment for crimes, and once convicted, there is a separate sentencing trial. The victims and their families do get their chance to speak. Based on what is presented, the judge will then determine the punishment. Some crimes, such as kidnapping, carry a mandatory death sentence. I agree that the victims should have some say in the punishment, but I don't know how that could possibly work within a massive legal system that has to at least pretend to be objective. X crime = Y punishment. Without that equation you really don't have a law, do you? You have a debate. Victims of violent crimes have enough thrown on their shoulders as it is. Wouldn't asking them to determine the punishment add to their burden? Feelings can change over time, and it's not uncommon for rape victims, especially children, to feel they're somehow responsible for what's been done to them. As time passes, they could end up with a guilt they can't bare if they've asked that their attacker be put to death. Best to let the justice system take care of vengeance.

  2. Hi Tony,I just came across this link related to this topic only. Here is it. It basically says(assuming that if there is capital punishment for rapists):Once you commit the rape, you are subject to being executed if you're caught and convicted.

    What will you now lose by becoming also a murderer? Nothing. In fact,
    you have everything to gain by killing your rape victim. If you let her
    live, you run a real risk of being identified, captured and convicted
    — and then executed. But if you murder the woman after you rape her,
    you reduce your chances of being caught and convicted. (The chief
    eyewitness to your heinous crime, after all, will be in her grave.) So
    with nothing to lose and much to gain by killing your rape victim,
    you're more likely to kill her than you would be if the penalty for rape were lower than is the penalty for murder.

    Punishing rape less severely than murder ensures that rapists still have something more to lose if they kill their victims.

    Of course, the same logic applies also to other crimes. We don't
    execute armed robbers not because we don't want to further reduce the
    incidence of armed robbery; it's because we don't want to strip armed
    robbers of incentives to let their victims live.
    Even though I do not agree with the idea of letting a rapist go free after few years whereas the victim suffers for the rest of life, I feel that there has to be a reason why rape and murder aren't considered equal as per law. What do you think?

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