Centuries ago justice systems considered rape as brutal of a crime as murder. In ancient Greece, Rome, and Colonial Times, rape was categorized as a a capital offense right alongside it. In the 12th century rape victims’ families were granted the right to carry out the rapists’ punishment which was brutal and often fatal. In 14th century England, the rape victim was expected to gouge out their rapist’s eyes or castrate him.
Today, rapists typically receive a slap on the wrist. In the United States, current death penalty standards exist mainly for convicted murderers, but shouldn’t rapists be faced with the same penalty? Victims of rape can experience PTSD and emotional consequences that stunt their livelihoods for years and sometimes destroy their entire lives.
Take for example Amanda Berry of Cleveland. Amanda and two other young females disappeared ten years ago when they were aged 14 years old. For the ten years these girls were held captive by their kid-napper. The man not only kidnapped, held captive and raped these girls, but collectively robbed them of thirty years of life. Thirty years they could’ve spent with friends. Thirty years they could’ve spent with family. Thirty years they could’ve spent going to school. Thirty years they will never get back. This is an extreme case of how a rapist can destroy and rob a victim of years of “living.”
In a more typical rape-crime, where it may only takes minutes for a rape to occur, the after effects from the humiliation and violence is difficult for a victim to bear. Issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder often rob rape victims of a normal life. Typically the term “PTSD” connotes images of war veterans suffering through an existence tormented with nightmares and flashbacks from their days of combat. Contrary to that imagery, PTSD is not unique to this group of individuals. Rape victims are common sufferers of PTSD.
Perpetrators of a rape usually get very lenient sentencing, but more often than not they are never caught while rape victims will suffer for years after a rape has occurred. Rape is not an experience that is easily forgotten and the after effects on a victim result in issues such as PTSD, depression, addiction and even suicide. Sometimes the issues the victim experiences last the rest of their lives so why shouldn’t the rapist lose their lives (or years of their lives through longer prison sentences) as well? Harsher punishments for rape-crimes would at the very least be a deterrent.