Capital Punishment and Sexual Crimes Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1690 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Capital Punishment and Sexual Crimes

Sexual crimes and its impact on victims

Sexual crimes are a kind of crime involving forced sex, rape, child abuse, human trafficking, sexual harassment and sex with animals. Every country has differing levels of punishment for sexual crimes. Western countries are in general more tolerant to mild forms of sexual crime than other countries. A commonality when it comes to punishment is that there are stringent laws in every country to protect children and minors from sexual crimes and strict punishment is awarded to offenders.

Irrespective of the age of victim, sexual crimes have a profound impact on the victim's emotional health. Many child abuse victims end up with multiple personality disorders, extreme violent behavior, psychotic behavior, depression and other problems. Many victims are known to have frequent anxiety attacks and they are always in a sense of doubt. A common characteristic of most rape victims is low self-esteem and confidence which in turn affects their ability to cope with problems in life and career. As a result, they are in more abusive relationships and constantly trying to make ends meet with welfare money and other low-paying jobs. These anxiety attacks and stress has an impact on their physical health and numerous victims are obese or have other problems like chronic constipation and heart-related problems.

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The problems faced by the victim is often passed on to their kids as well. They can never be a good parent for their kids and most of them do not have the trust to marry another individual. So, the kids of such victims end up in broken homes where the single parent raising the child is pre-occupied with his or her own mental and emotional problems and do not have any time for the kids. Such kids also end up having low confidence levels and a good percentage of them end up on the lower strata of the society. So, this becomes a chain reaction and unfortunately, someone has to intervene to prevent this from further deteriorating the society.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Capital Punishment and Sexual Crimes Assignment

A good example is that of a forty-seven-year-old woman who was diagnosed with manic-depression when she was 30 because she was abused by her father when she was 16 months old and was molested by her father numerous times during her teens. She kept this secret to herself and she was finally diagnosed with four separate personalities. "She had four separate personalities. Susan was younger and maintained the knowledge of early traumas. Danny appeared only when things were going well. Sharon was the original personality and didn't know of the others. Terra was the first split from Diana." (Lange, 2008, p.201). She had suffered all her life because of the violent incidents during her formative years and this has affected her for the rest of her life.

This case of Sharon is unfortunately not an isolated incident, but rather one of the numerous unreported cases of suffering endured by human beings due to the violent sexual acts of another person. They can never forget this incident despite all their efforts and psychological help. They simply learn to accept and live with it. This is the sad situation of the victims of rape and child abuse. The worst part is that this state of acceptance is not only by the victim, but the society at large who turn a blind-eye to such social problems. There is no stringent legislation that will punish these offenders and instill a strong sense of fear in the minds of these criminals who have no regard for other human beings.

The severe impact of sexual crimes on the lives of victims has made it an international crime. "The concept of rape as an international crime is relatively new. This is not to say that rape has never been historically prohibited, particularly in war. The 1863 Lieber Instructions, which codified customary international law of land warfare, classified rape as a crime of 'troop discipline.' It specified rape as a capital crime punishable by the death penalty" (Ellis, 2007, p.228). However, after World War II, this death penalty lost steam and more and more countries started taking a lenient view of the whole problem. Rape as a problem is coming back to international focus after the widespread rape in civil wars in Bosnia, Sudan and other parts of Africa. Many international communities are taking a more harsh stance on the offenders because of the brutality of the act as well as its effects on the victims.

Is capital punishment justified for sexual crimes?

Rape victims and molested children are affected for life because it haunts them for the rest of their life. Many children who are sexually abused at an early age end up with severe emotional and psychological problems. They can never lead a normal life again and so, capital punishment is justified for rapists and child molesters.

The United States code clearly states that capital punishment should be awarded only in cases where a person is raped and murdered or a child is molested and subsequently killed. According to this code, a person who is raped and not killed does not constitute as a capital offense. This is unfair because the rape victim has to suffer for the rest of her life and she is better off dead than alive. This is no reason why the offender should not be given capital punishment.

In 1977, the Supreme court gave a verdict in Coker vs. Georgia case that death punishment is too harsh for rape. Since then only a handful of states like Florida and Louisiana retain the laws that provide capital punishment for rape. In recent years, Patrick Kennedy was the only offender who is facing the death penalty for the rape of an eight-year-old and his case was appealed in the Supreme Court. (Hylton, 2007). The Supreme Court ruled that the states cannot impose death penalty on the rape of a child because of the presence of a clause in the United States Constitution. The eight amendment's cruel and unusual punishment clause forbids punishments that are considered excessive for the crime. Since then many states have repealed the laws related to capital punishment with Texas being the only exception. So far, it has executed 1217 prisoners as capital punishment. They have stringent laws against rape and any other kind of sexual assault. The Texas Penal Code allows a person to be convicted of a capital murder for the sexual assault of a child if the offender has a previous record of sexual assault of a child. However, due to the ruling of the Supreme Court in the Kennedy vs. Louisiana case, this code remains void and cannot be executed in a court of law.

Though many common people and residents favor stronger punishment, the law makers are hesitant to push the bill for capital punishment because they do not want innocent people to be killed by the state. Recently, there was a case about a prisoner who was declared innocent after a DNA testing and he was released after 27 years in prison. If he had been given capital punishment, then there is no way that the state can make up for the death of an innocent person. At the same time, lack of stringent punishment has increased this abuse and the perpetrators suffer much lesser than the victim.

In many cases, the victims do not even come forward to complain to the authorities because of two reasons. The first reason is that they are scared and ashamed and the second is that they do not believe that it will affect the offender in any way. "According to the U.S. Department of Justice, every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, with 60% still… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Capital Punishment and Sexual Crimes" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Capital Punishment and Sexual Crimes.  (2011, February 27).  Retrieved August 3, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Capital Punishment and Sexual Crimes."  27 February 2011.  Web.  3 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Capital Punishment and Sexual Crimes."  February 27, 2011.  Accessed August 3, 2021.