The Worst of Crimes

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of these ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

have been more than usu­ally con­cerned of late about crime in Saint Lu­cia, es­pe­cially the crimes of mur­der and rape, so I went on­line to check out what the world does to the per­pe­tra­tors of these crimes. What I dis­cov­ered was per­plex­ing and dis­turb­ing. Vic­tims of a rape, whether male or fe­male, suf­fer in ways non-vic­tims can scarcely imag­ine yet there is lit­tle or no global con­sen­sus on how the per­pe­tra­tors of such crimes should be dealt with. What fol­lows are not my words but the words of oth­ers who have posted ar­ti­cles, some­times seem­ingly very au­thor­i­ta­tively, on this mat­ter. Un­for­tu­nately, how­ever, the lan­guage used in these ar­ti­cles has led me to be sus­pi­cious of the qual­ity of the con­tents, so for what it's worth here's what I found out af­ter I cleaned up the gram­mar a bit.

In some Euro­pean coun­tries, any kind of sex­ual as­sault, even in­clud­ing a French kiss with­out the re­cip­i­ent's con­sent, is con­sid­ered a rape but there is no uni­form pun­ish­ment to fit the crime. Whereas most coun­tries are not con­cerned about sex­ual as­saults on pros­ti­tutes, an un­in­vited sex­ual as­sault on a sex worker may lead to an im­pris­on­ment of up to 4 years in the Nether­lands for ex­am­ple.

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, in the West a rapist re­ceives prison sen­tences rang­ing from 4 to 15 years de­pend­ing on the age of the con­victed. In­dia im­poses life im­pris­on­ment or even death sen­tences. The French are pretty hard­core about their rape laws. They hand out 15-year sen­tences for rape, which can be ex­tended to 30 or life de­pend­ing on the ex­tent of dam­age and bru­tal­ity. The sen­tence for rape in China is a swift death. Cas­tra­tion is also used in some cases. The pun­ish­ment for rape in Saudi Ara­bia is a pub­lic be­head­ing af­ter ad­min­is­ter­ing the rapist with a seda­tive. The fact that they hand down the same pun­ish­ment for drug traf­fick­ing proves that some­thing wrong is in­grained in their sys­tem. The North Korean dic­ta­tor­ship sen­tences rapists to death by fir­ing squad. In Afghanistan con­victed rapists are shot in the head within 4 days or hanged to death. Egypt still fol­lows the slightly out­dated mode of death by hang­ing. Rapists in Iran are sen­tenced to death, some­times by hang­ing but some­times al­legedly also by ston­ing, which is a grue­some way to go. Sadly, their cul­ture also ends up vic­tim­iz­ing the per­son who was raped. In Is­rael, some­one con­victed of rape is li­able to be sen­tenced to 16 years in prison. Their def­i­ni­tion of rape is quite in­clu­sive and takes into ac­count other forms of sex­ual as­sault. In the USA the usual sen­tence for a con­victed rapist de­pends on whether the trial falls un­der state or fed­eral law. In cases un­der fed­eral law, pun­ish­ments range from a few years to life im­pris­on­ment. Rapists in Rus­sia are usu­ally sen­tenced to 3-6 years in prison. The jail term can go up to more than 10 years de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion, such as if the per­son causes griev­ous harm, and can be even higher, 20 years, in rare cases. Scan­di­navia is one of the most strin­gent places with re­gard to rape. Any kind of sex­ual be­hav­iour with­out con­sent falls un­der the cat­e­gory of rape, and the per­pe­tra­tor can be thrown in jail for a pe­riod of 4-15 years de­pend­ing on how heinous the crime is. They have such nice pris­ons though!

In Arab coun­tries for cen­turies an in­trud­ing man caught in the harem was turned over to the slaves to be used for their sex­ual plea­sure. Rape of cap­tive sol­diers in war was com­mon amongst an­cient Arabs, Per­sians, Greeks, and Ro­mans. The tra­di­tion ap­par­ently con­tin­ues, with a re­cent re­port of the In­ter­na­tional Com­mis­sion of Ju­rists in Geneva doc­u­ment­ing the rape of nu­mer­ous teenage Pales­tinian boys in Is­raeli mil­i­tary de­ten­tion cen­tres as part of both pun­ish­ment and in­ter­ro­ga­tion rou­tines. In Eng­land, as well as in the early Amer­i­can years, pris­on­ers left in the stocks or pil­lory overnight were of­ten raped. The pun­ish­ment was vir­tu­ally an in­vi­ta­tion to rape, with the pris­oner firmly an­chored and un­able to turn his or her head to see who was be­hind him or her. The gen­eral knowl­edge of such as­saults oc­cur­ring would sug­gest that judges were just as aware that they were im­pos­ing rape as pun­ish­ment as were Arab harem keep­ers who more di­rectly im­posed rape as pun­ish­ment. In the mod­ern era, prison ad­min­is­tra­tors have of­ten been ac­cused of tol­er­at­ing, and some­times de­lib­er­ately cre­at­ing, rape sit­u­a­tions. In ad­di­tion to the pun­ish­ment as­pect, prison staff has bet­ter con­trol of the pop­u­la­tion by tac­itly con­sent­ing to rapes; it is a way of keep­ing the more ag­gres­sive pris­on­ers calm and happy, since if they weren't rap­ing they might be ri­ot­ing.

One of the more bizarre on­line claims is that one Mid­dle East­ern coun­try pun­ishes con­victed rapists by chain­ing one an­kle to the bed for 24 hours. The of­fi­cial ex­pla­na­tion is that for that day the pris­oner is be­ing pun­ished by be­ing re­stricted to his bed and is not able to wan­der around to use var­i­ous recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties. The truth is that by be­ing chained to the bed the real pun­ish­ment is that the pris­oner is un­able to de­fend him­self and is avail­able all day to any of his 150 dor­mi­tory mates who might want to rape him, and that al­most all would want to. That is why the pun­ish­ment is only for one day. My oh my! The stuff you read on the Net!

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