Indonesia To Chemically Castrate People Who Sexually Abuse Children

Indonesia will now punish child sexual abuse with chemical castration, or in some cases even death, as the Asian nation struggles to deal with the aftermath of several high-profile incidents of sexual violence against kids.

As CNN reports, sexual violence against children and teenagers has long been commonplace in Indonesia, and it’s been surging of late, capped by an April incident in which a 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and murdered by a group of teenagers. The naked body of the victim was found tied up in a forest on the island of Sumatra. At least seven attackers have been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In an earlier case this month, three men raped and murdered a woman near the capital city of Jakarta.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, while declining to give specifics on the number of sex crimes against children in Indonesia, announced Wednesday that something must be done to curb the problem of sexual violence. Specifically, he announced a new law that allows criminals who commit sex crimes against children to be chemically castrated, or in some cases even put to death. Offenders who have already served their sentences can be required to wear ankle-monitoring bracelets.

“Sexual violence against children, as I have said, is an extraordinary crime. We hope that this law will be a deterrent for offenders and can suppress sexual crimes against children. These acts threaten and endanger children, and they destroy the lives and development of children for the future.”

In chemical castration, the offender is given a course of antiandrogen drugs, such as cyproterone acetate or the birth-control drug DMPA. In theory, chemical castration reduces libido and sexual activity, thereby preventing the offender from offending again — if he is cooperative with the treatment (chemical castration is not a one-time thing; the offender must routinely receive injections of the chemically castrating drugs).

According to a 2013 National Institutes of Health report, chemical castration is undeniably effective in keeping sex offenders from repeating their crimes.

“Chemical castration… reduces circulating testosterone to very low levels, and also results in very low levels of recidivism despite the strong psychological factors that contribute to sexual offending.”

However, according to a 2012 report in The Guardian, chemical castration only goes so far when it comes to those who sexually abuse children.

“[Chemical castration is not] a total cure: pedophiles’ sexual behavior is governed not only by hormones but also by fantasies so they will still be drawn to children.”

Nevertheless, chemical castration is used as a punishment for sex offenders in disparate places throughout the world, including Poland, South Korea, the Czech Republic, and in some states in the U.S.

In both Florida and California, for example, offenders who sexually abuse children are required to undergo chemical castration after their second offense. In Iowa, an offender can be sentenced to chemical castration on his first offense, if a judge deems his crime severe enough.

Back in Indonesia, Joko Widodo’s regime has responded to surging crime in the nation with an equally heavy-handed criminal justice approach. After a four-year period without any executions, Widodo has brought back the firing squad in Indonesia, and in 2015 13 drug traffickers were put to death by firing squad. Another round of executions by firing squad is scheduled for this year.

Do you think that chemical castration should be mandatory for people who sexually abuse children, as it will soon be in Indonesia?

[Image via Shutterstock/Robert Hoetink]