Extreme but necessary policyBarely one month after an 8-year-old girl was taken from an elementary school playground and raped, a 7-year-old girl was raped on Saturday by a stranger in her home in broad daylight. The perpetrator of the recent crime allegedly tried to take advantage of the lax security in the neighborhood, where no closed-circuit TVs are installed. The girl was chosen because she was home alone while her parents were at work.
This horrendous crime proves once again that the measures the authorities have devised to protect our children are terribly insufficient. The government has toughened penalties on convicted sex offenders and extended the period of time during which electronic bracelets must be worn, but all to no avail. Now is the time for the authorities to give serious consideration to the policies that must still be made to protect our children from such inhumane crimes.
Currently the National Assembly is reviewing a new piece of legislation that would mandate chemical castration through hormone injection to curb sexual desire. The decision to introduce the legislation was made because sex crimes against children are usually committed by pedophiles who hunt for victims to satiate their sexual desire once they are out of prison.
Despite the heinous nature of sex crimes against children, there still is criticism of chemical castration, as it is regarded as an infringement of human rights. However, there is also a consensus in our society that such a harsh form of punishment is dwarfed by the incredible pain of the victims, who must go through their entire lives with both physical and mental scars.
The cost of chemical castration is over 3 million won ($2,500) per person per year. However, we believe it is worth the expense, as long as it will keep our children safe.
Still, it should be noted that side effects have appeared in offenders who were chemically castrated in the United States and Denmark. In some cases, the injection did little to suppress the sexual appetite of the criminal. In other cases the perpetrator committed the same crime once the injection period ended. Furthermore, locating offenders after they are released in order to continue injections is no easy job.
Yet, we think that if we cannot find ways to permanently isolate these appalling criminals from society, we should support the passage of the law, strict as it may be.
We hope the National Assembly will proceed with this legislation in a bipartisan fashion, but we also hope that the law will not be the end of their efforts. We hope they will work to devise alternative solutions to make up for the cited shortcomings with the chemical castration procedure so that our children can live safely.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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