Criminologist: Chemical castration no guaranteed solution

P-Sundramoorthy

PETALING JAYA: Chemical castration may not necessarily prevent a convicted sex offender from attacking more victims in the future simply because physical sexual gratification is not the only factor behind a sexual assault, says a criminologist.

Speaking to FMT, USM criminologist P Sundramoorthy said this was why he believed a lengthy jail term was a better solution.

He said this in the wake of reports that Putrajaya was open to the proposal of chemical castration for convicted paedophiles, following in the footsteps of Indonesia.

Chemical castration is the use of drugs to reduce sex drive and libido, without resorting to sterilisation or removing one’s organs.

Sundramoorthy however said experts and researchers found that other factors of sexual assault included the need for physical and emotional control over the victim, as well as to exert power over the victim and release built-up aggression.

“Physical sexual gratification via penetration into the vagina or anus of the victim is just one factor, so a convicted rapist who has been chemically castrated may not be able to get an erection but this does not mean the perpetrator cannot obtain sexual gratification through other means.”

He said for sex offenders, sexual gratification could also be achieved by inserting objects into the vagina and anus of the victim, then taking photographs to further humiliate them.

In extreme cases, he said perpetrators would also mutilate and kill the victim and resort to other inhumane and cruel physical acts.

Hence, the best solution, he said, was to sentence rapists and other sex offenders to lengthy prison terms, with whipping, as allowed by law.

“We must understand that chemical castration only eliminates physical desires but are insufficient in addressing emotional and mental issues. In my personal opinion, the best solution is to lock them up and throw away the keys.”

Meanwhile, Amnesty International-Malaysia (AI-M) Executive Director Shamini Darshni said Malaysia should not emulate Indonesia’s move in introducing chemical castration.

“The sexual abuse of children is sickening and ghastly, but subjecting offenders to chemical castration is adding one form of cruelty to another,” she told FMT.

She said forced chemical castration was a violation of the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international law.

“Flirting with the idea of chemical castration is typical of the Malaysian way of justice – punitive rather than rehabilitative,” she said, adding that this did not mean that AI-M was downplaying the seriousness of crimes against children.

However, she said the authorities needed to consider prevention and rehabilitation methods, including exploring the school of thought that sexual abuse of children and adults was a behavioural disorder.

Shamini also voiced hope that the Malaysian medical fraternity would emulate the Indonesian Doctors Association, who have stated their refusal to implement chemical castration on the grounds that it violates medical ethics.

Last week, Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Azizah Mohd Dun said Putrajaya was open to suggestions for chemical castration to end the crime of paedophilia in the country.

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