Needless to say, violence against women is a huge problem in the world. I read a comment on a web page about flogging and caning and a user who calls himself Richard Anonymous says that flogging and caning could be used to deter violence against women. He feels that it would be effective because a man who attacks a woman would then face the consequences he might face if he attacks a man. He also says that flogging and caning would elevate the status of women in society because men who are violent towards women would be meaningfully punished and women would have the satisfaction of knowing that they are valued and that crimes against them are taken seriously and blamed on those who commit such crimes.
1. More consciousness raising of this time-honored, cost effective, and effective form of correction may be needed.
I see the lash, cane, or leather strap as a good, strong deterrent for men and teenaged boys who physcially or sexually abuse women (and for those who are showing themselves to be career criminals who are not deterred by prison alone). Most sex crimes (including date rape, the most common form of rape) against women are committed by young, sexually focused males 16-24 yrs of age who need a strong deterent, could be reformed by such decisive correction early in life, and are physically robust enough to endure such discipline.
I have some admiration of the Singaporean justice system which provides mandatory caning for males, starting at 16 years of age, who are convicted of sexually offending against women. Even those who engage in nonconsensual sexual touching receive a minor caning. I see this is promoting respect for women and stopping problems before they escalate. Because most nations that still employ the lash are developing nations, I like how Singapore shows us that a nation can be modern and still have provision for flogging. And as most people know, the amount of sex crime is very low and repeating such a crime after having been caned across the bare backside for it is almost unheard of. Also, the introduction of caning in Malaysia succeeded in lowering an out of control crime rate.
Look at the example how even circus lions can be kept tame and safe when they know there is a whip available that can be used on them. The desire to avoid pain affects the behavior of all mamals. As a man myself, I can tell you the fear of being lashed would keep me in line much more so than would just the fear of going to jail. People think that society has evolved beyond the need for the lash, but have all men evolved beyond the need for this? What could be a more effective antidote to violent and sexual excesses of testosterone?
If whipping were in use, a man wanting to assault a woman would know he would also get hurt just like when a man decides not to attack a man whom he thinks can hurt him back badly. Also men need to know that assaulting a woman will not be even close to worth it and he will deeply regret it. Me motivated by sexual impulses to do force sex or sexual contact need to know that the pain of the punishment will far outweigh any pleasure derived from the crime.
I often think we could live in a better society if women felt safer around men and men were safer for women to be around. I also wish for women to feel that justice is done, that sex crime is blamed on the offender, that rape is taken seriously, and that women are valued by soceity. I see whipping as helping to achieve these ends and demonstrate these things — even when it is trusted men who abuse women, as is often the case.
Whipping also in some ways fits as a consequence for rape. The is stripped down, tied down, and whipped. He would have some sense of what it is like to feel pain, fear, humiliation, vulnerability, and a helplessness to resist.
I can see merit in in limiting whipping to males. It avoids the problem of role modelling violence against women and sends a message that women are not to be beaten under any circumstance. Exempting women helps to elevate the status of women. Men use their strong bodies to abuse women so it makes sense that the punishment also makes use of the strong bodies which are well suited to endure the rigors of whipping. The physical power imbalance between women and men is mitigated if men also have to fear getting hurt when they attack women in the same way that men have that to fear when they consider attacking a man. Whipping could also be viewed as a very pro-woman form of punishment that protects women from physical harm and benefits them psychologically in that they can fee valued and safe and take some satisfaction that abusive men are being meaningfully punished. The psychological benefit to women is compromised if women end up having something new to fear (such as the idea of being theoretically subject to he lash themselves).
Such punishment should be done as humanely as possible and no more severely than necessary. I recommend the use of a leather strap because it is flat and not that likely to cause scaring cuts. There should also be supportive counselling offered before and afterwards. Of course, if the offender is judged mentally ill, he should be provided with psychiatric treatment, not whipping. Physical discipline should be provided for guys who know that abusing a woman is wrong and have the mental ability to control themselves but chose not to do so.
2. Irina, I value you comments and perspective. It reminded me of a point that I wanted to add. I am totally against the concept of prison violence. I believe that society should protect people from whom it has taken their freedom. It runs counter to any idea of correction for the system or society to quietly support prison violence as a means of discipline. Moreover, the level of punishment someone receives should not be left up to random factors such as whether someone is able to defend himself well or not or whether or not one is unlucky enough to be in prison with a particularly mean-spirited fellow inmate or not or unlucky enough to be anally raped by someone with AIDS (it is also very hypocritical for society to secretly condone rape and criminal violence in any form while pretending that the these things are reprehensible). If we honestly believe that a certain type of convict deserves or would benefit from some level of physical discipline, he should be sentenced to a certain number of lashes that are professionally administered under medical supervision where he is at no risk of being permanently injured or killed.
3. I definitely agree that those who are in a position to hand out such sentences should definitely be very well acquainted with what the punishment is like. They should be be required to watch MANY videotaped or real-time floggings of various durations so that they can be aware of impact of different amounts of strokes/lashes and make intelligent decisions on how many strokes/lashes to award for individual cases (since there is usually a range allowed by law for various offences).
Moreover, if some form of flogging is to be used to punish males for sexual or violent crimes against women, it should be mandatory for all boys to watch a video of a real flogging as part of their early sex education in school. It is only fair for boys to see what they will face if they do not behave themselves around women. This would be very beneficial in promoting safety and respect for women considering that the boys watching such a video would be entering puberty and on the verge of starting to go out on dates and be alone with girls. Seeing such a video at a young age would create a permanent and graphic memory that could give a young man or a man of any age the will power he needs to make a decision to control himself when his testosterone is telling him “yes” and a woman is telling him “no”.
4. Yohan, I am hoping that we can limit our discussion to civilized discourse and avoid an aggressive style of conversation and name calling such as “David ….silly man”. My responses to your comments are as follows:
1. I advocate for mandatory flogging and mandatory prison terms for men covicted of the crimes discussed above. Men who commit such crimes need to spend some time out of society. No man should just be flogged and released immediately afterwards for such crimes. Combining whipping an prison time provides two different types of deterrents. Each man will vary in terms of how much he fears one versus the other, but combining the two would provide a package that any sane man would find very intimidating.
2. If you reaserch this issue, you will see that there is both reasonably reliable statiscal and annecdotal evidence of the ability of flogging to deter crime. There is also much evidence that spending unnecessarily long periods of time in prison is often more damaging than beneficial.
3. While it is true, that many nations which have retained flogging suffer from corruption, it should not be forgotten that up until the middle of the 1900s, most nations, including Great Britain, Canada, and the United States imposed flogging. It should not be assumed that flogging causes a system to be corrupt. As long as flogging is professionally administered and administered only in repsonse to proper sentencing, corruption should be kept in check.
4. Deterring crime involves BOTH certainty of punishment and appropriate severity of punishment. Many poor or crime-infested nations that have have stiff penalties in lieu of high certainty of detection and punishment. For example, many poor nations have stiff laws against drug use or trafficking but the rates of such crimes are high because people know that few people are caught and punished. This is why I argue for mandatory flogging sentences for certain crimes so that the men be certain of the fact that they will face whipping if convicted of certain crimes. This is mandatory system is what helps the Singaporean system to be as effective as it is. However, nations such as Trinidad that have laws allowing rapists to be flogged but only apply the sentence about once every five years while almost all rapists escape the lash completely undermines the beneficial effect that the lash could have. It is important to note that crime will never be completely eradicated, no matter what is done.
5. There need be no increased cost to flogging. In many cases, the prison terms could be shortened somewhat and there would be no great cost involved in administering the floggings. In no way should it be assumed that the system of repeatedly appealing the sentence for years as in US death penalty cases would come into play. For example, a man convicted of raping a woman should be allowed the appeal process currently available for such a sentence. The man should not be given the opportunity to repeatedly appeal the flogging component. If his conviction is upheld, the whipping should be enforced. WHen it comes to training and medical expenses, there need not be any additional cost. I recommend the use of a leather strap. How much training would it take to teach some prison staff members to lay a leather strap across a man’s buttocks? Historically, in many nations, this has just been part of the job of a prison guard, not a highly skilled trade. A leather strap, being shorter than a rattan cane, is easier to aim and, being flat and wide, does not cause damage to the buttocks which requires much medical treatment. Straps are known to raise welts and cause only superficial bleeding at most.
All prisons have a doctor who could spend a few minutes here and there overseeing strappings, and the nurse or doctor on duty could apply any necessary first aid.
6. David’s comment is not as self-defeating as you assume it to be. He is merely making the point that the pain of caning can be justified as not inappropriately excessive because the physical pain is awful, but it is gone after several days and the victim has to contend with much pain too. On a different note, many people say the problem with flogging is that the pain is all over too soon. It should not be forgotten that men who commit serious cirmes, such as rapists, also spend many years in prison, and many men have found the experience of being sentenced to a lashing quite psychologically disturbing/traumatizing prior to the administration of the lashes and/or subsequent to the administration.
7. And yes, extreme pain is quite an effective deterrent. It is the powerful tool used by mother nature to ensure the continued existence and well being of animal life on earth in that both humans and animals can be prevented from doing many self-injurious and potentially fatal things out of the desire to avoid or fear of pain.
8. I realize that flogging may seem extreme to many people before they give much thought to the matter. Obviously, efforts should be made to administer it as humanely as possible. The flogging should ideally form part of the punishment/deterrence component of an overall treatment/rehabilitation program. I have previously argued why I can see flogging as well suited to the male gender group, supportive of women, and supportive of good gender relations. Hence, it could even be argued that instituting a form of punishment that is uniquely effective in hepling men to stay on track without ruining their own lives, the lives of the women around them, or the quality of relations between the gender groups actually shows respect for men and their well being. I most often find that it is women who have most initial difficulty in supporting whipping, but this is because they often imagine themselves on the receiving end of the whip. However, when they are asked to consider the gender differences between men and women in terms of physicality, biology, conduct, and mentality, they tend to find the idea a lot more apealing. I also find it an interesting disconnect that many people are supportive of corporal punishment for boys but believe this should stop just before they become teens and young men at an age when they commit the most crime and their hormones are raging. What people do not sometimes think about is that whether corporal punishment is allowed for men or not, the men who do not require it to be good and decent will not be receiving it. But if corporal punishment is allowed, it will be there to keep the men who need it in line.
Rachel, it would be interesting to know if your views on this topic have been affected by any of the comments that people have been making.