How chemical castration works

2013-10-20 14:00

The brutal rape and murder of Diepsloot cousins Yonelisa and Zandile Mali has triggered fresh calls for government to introduce legislation that will allow courts to sentence convicted rapists to chemical castration.

Angry parents lashed out in the media this week, saying if government was to chemically castrate convicted rapists it would send a strong message to other men.

But not everyone is convinced this practice will deter men.

Independent researcher Lisa Vetten, whose focus is on investigating women and child abuse, said chemically castrating convicted rapists would be a waste of time because it wouldn’t address the root cause of sexual violence in South Africa.

She said: “No country in the world (where it is used as a form of punishment) has shown that it discourages men from raping.”

Constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos said this sort of punishment was more about revenge than rehabilitation.

“It is understandable people are emotional right now because of the spate of brutal rapes reported across the country, but chemical castration is not the way to go especially in the absence of evidence that it works,” said De Vos.

Chemical castration is practised in the US, UK, Russia, South Korea, India and Argentina.

There have been very few cases in South Africa in which convicted rapists were sentenced to chemical castration.

One of those recorded was in the Durban Magistrates’ Court 10 years ago, where a businessman found guilty of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old boy was sentenced to the procedure.

How chemical castration works

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