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Can we count on violence to solve violence in society? 

Are not only wars on the battlefield fought like that? Though we can say we are in a battle, it is one against injustice. Can we fight it being brutal?

With us hearing and finding increasingly more cases of rapes almost without skipping a day, we are aggravated looking for a quick solution. So, many people demanding no less than death for the perpetrators becomes natural. While we want to get rid of the weeds of society faster than ever, however only cutting all of them from existing, we don’t really cut off the problem. 

Amnesty International states “Countries who execute commonly cite the death penalty as a way to deter people from committing the crime but there is no evidence that the death penalty is any more effective in reducing crime than life imprisonment.” We can infer that there is no reduction in the number of cases even with the death penalty.

Those who are pushing for rapists to be hanged are ignorant of the laws and seem to be blindly doing this in rage as it is not possible in Nepal. The prevailing Constitution of Nepal (2015), Article 16 has guaranteed that all citizens have the right to live with dignity and has prohibited any law to be made that prescribes the death penalty. 

In addition to that, Nepal has signed the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which mandates the abolition of the death penalty, and the country agreeing to this protocol cannot denounce it. 

Despite the legal implications, one should also consider the aftermath of this call. Death as a punishment will put the victims in the dilemma of their decision to register the complaint of sexual violence fearing the consequences of their actions. This will happen more often because most perpetrators are people who have close relations with the victims such as someone in their family, relatives, or someone they know closely. This kind of relations and closeness makes them feel guilty and puts them in ethically difficult positions. In addition, there might be family or societal pressure to withdraw their cases and keep the matter to themselves. Thus, the number of cases registered will be questionable. 

Especially in countries like Nepal, the criminal laws target the weaker section of the society i.e the ones who cannot afford expensive lawyers or appeal to the High-court. So, there are more chances that we would be sending innocent people down the gallows too. 

Capital punishment is also inclined to make matters life-threatening for victims. With the certainty of death, the perpetrators may be triggered to make sure the victim is dead to leave no evidence to report their crimes.

What we should also understand is that living is a fundamental human right for all and it cannot be taken away from an individual. Now, you might be thinking what about when the victims are being robbed of their life? What about when they are tortured by raping or when gruesome murders are committed? Well, we should understand that we can’t do a tit-for-tat and call it justice. If we go with the violent ways, we also become part of the problem.   

Why would we want to go for something that i) does not seem to reduce the number of cases,

  1. ii) is a deterrent to the victims and the poor people, and iii) is against human rights?

When we demand to hang the rapist we are not taking any necessary action to stop rapes but we are reacting to the circumstance. This exactly how the patriarchy wants us to react. We must analyze the available details to look at the bigger picture. “The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it.” This quote by Amnesty International should redirect us to where we’re headed.

Hence we must not set a culture of revenge by demanding the death penalty rather we could raise voices to penalize the rapist either up to 25 years of imprisonment without bail or life-imprisonment for more serious cases.

We should focus on bringing a fast-track system of justice for heinous crimes like rape by standing up for strengthening the laws and the most importantly ensuring implementing them. 

References:

Article: ‘Seven Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Demand the Death Penalty for Rape’ by The Wire 

Amnesty International 

Resources from: Knock off the evil 

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