Update: The Death Penalty for Rape: Barbaric or Justified?

Judge Yogesh Khanna sentenced the four men to the gallows today after they brutally attacked and raped a 23-year old girl on a New Delhi bus causing her to die. The Judge said, “In these times, when crime against women is on the rise, the courts cannot turn a blind eye toward such gruesome crimes.” He continued to say that this crime “shocked the collective conscience” of everyone in India.

It was reported that you could hear the four men wail as the sentence was given.  The defense attorney, A.P. Singh yelled at the Judge saying,  “This is not the victory of truth. But it is a defeat of justice.” The parents of the victim, on the other hand, were satisfied with the sentence. They were happy that their little girl finally got justice.

Under India’s law, a death sentence must be affirmed by India’s High Court.  The men can appeal their case to the High Court, as well as, to the Supreme Court.  In addition, they can ask the President of India for clemency.

Overall, this case has raised awareness about the increase in rape and mistreatment of women in India. It has been closely followed not only in India, but throughout the world. The world now has a close eye on India’s government and courts as they attempt to remedy the outbreak of crime against women.

It is important to always rembember, however, that these heinous crimes happen right here in the United States.  So I caution you about judging India’s government before we look at ourselves in the proverbial mirror. These types of crimes seem like a foreign concept and it is easy to say,”Oh, that doesn’t happen here,” (the “not in my backyard” theory).  But, the truth is rape and violence against women does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, economic status, age, societal status, etc.  It can happen to anyone.

This is why I encourage all of you to help raise awareness about rape and violence against women locally, nationally, and globally!

Source: Fox World News

Picture: Google Images


  1. This was a very insightful piece. Indeed, it seems that sexual abuse against woman has been reported on frequently within the country of India, which – as the author is acutely aware – opens the door to widespread debate about not only the problem as it pertains to India, but in other countries as well.

    I think the article also raises interesting questions about justice, deterrence, and the death penalty in general. No one can dispute that the men who committed this crime deserve harsh punishment – for their acts are as abhorrent as some of the worst crimes that can be committed by a human being against another. However, the New York Times interviewed women about the verdict in this case and many thought that it would not act as a deterrent – indicating that this type of crime may be quite prevalent within India’s borders. But if the death penalty would not act as a deterrent, what will?

  2. I do believe that justice was served, but this begs the question: would have the men received just as severe sentences if the woman had not died? For that I do not have an answer, instead I give you the Montana judge who only gave a 30 day sentence to a teacher who sexually assaulted his 14 year old student. The sentencing has since been amended to 2 years, after a fervent public outcry, but this does show that rapists’ culpability is looked at less and less and our society tends to put the blame on the victim.

    The Montana judge noted that the 14 year old was more mature than her age indicated and seduced the teacher. Regardless of the laws against statutory rape, the abysmal sentence was laid down to the dismay of the court. The disparity in justice prevents women from coming forward about sexual assault and breeds mistrust in the judicial system to do right by them. While I’m sure justice was served in this instance, how many other Indian women have suffered similar indiscretions and have not received proper justice?

  3. Is justice served if a rapist receives the death penalty as punishment? I personally believe that justice was served in this case. It is a horrific crime to brutally rape a person and consequently the person dies of the injuries from the attack. While India allows for the death penalty to be applied in rape cases, the United States has ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional in cases other than murder and should not be applied. In the Supreme Court case, Coker v. Georgia, the United States Supreme Court held that the death penalty for the punishment of rape of an adult is grossly disproportionate and is considered excessive punishment. The Court held that the death penalty in rape cases violates the 8th Amendment. Years later, the Supreme Court also held that a Louisiana statute that allowed the death penalty for the rape of children who did not die was unconstitutional. (Kennedy v Louisiana). Is the death penalty a proportionate punishment to rape?

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