MPs eye castration as rape deterrent

MPs eye castration as rape deterrent

The clothes of some rape victims are displayed in an exhibition against sexual harassment in Bangkok last year. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
The clothes of some rape victims are displayed in an exhibition against sexual harassment in Bangkok last year. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Chemical castration has been proposed to prevent rapists from repeating the crime and better protect victims, said Pacharin Sumsiripong, an MP of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party.

The proposal was put forth by the House of Representatives' special committee exploring potential solutions to the problem of rape and sexual assault.

Ms Pacharin, a committee member, said on Thursday the panel has presented the chemical castration idea to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin who agreed with it.

"We have yet to set a goal to move forward the [chemical castration] idea. But at this point we want a thorough analysis done to weigh up the pros and cons of the issue," said Ms Pacharin, who has a background in criminology.

Several countries have adopted chemical castration for controlling rapists with a tendency to repeat the crime and Thailand may learn from their experience, she said. From a human rights point of view, the key question is whether it is right to perform chemical castration on a person against his will, even a convicted rapist, she said.

From a medical point of view, another important question remains to be answered, which is whether it is against the medical code of conduct for medical doctors to perform chemical castration on a person against his will, she added. The medical procedure needs to be done by specially trained doctors, Ms Pacharin said.

Another concern raised by the committee was the cost of making chemical castration a punishment for rapists as the medial procedure requires constant use of intravenous drugs.

"Chemical castration as a punishment won't be for everyone convicted of raping or sexual assault but those who refuse to change even after being punished," she said.

Another measure studied by the committee is registration of former criminals in the national database to track those with a tendency to repeat a crime after they are freed from prison, she said.

The US, for instance, has such a database. People can check the database for their own safety, which is believed to have helped cut the crime rate, said Ms Pacharin who graduated with a master's degree in criminology from Sam Houston State University Texas.

Ms Pacharin said the committee also raised measures to improve protection of sexual assault victims' rights and privacy. The victims are entitled to privacy during media coverage. State agencies must ensure they protect the victims from the physical and mental impacts of sex crimes, she said.


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