‘Cut Them Off’: This Honduran Politician Wants to Castrate Child Rapists

A campaign video for legislator Antonio Rivera shows actors simulating scissors with their fingers accompanied by a snipping sound.

Oct 6 2021, 2:32pm

A Honduran politician released a campaign video this week calling for child rapists to have their balls cut off. 

In the minute-long campaign video, a series of actors say “Cut them off” as they mimic scissors cutting with their fingers accompanied by a snipping sound. At the end, the legislator Antonio Rivera declares that he agrees and repeats the slogan while he snips his fingers across the screen. 

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The video was lambasted on social media, including by many who thought the idea was hypocritical.

“While we’re at it, what if we include cutting off the fingers of those who steal from the state, especially funds for children, health and education?” said a user on Twitter, poking fun at the legislator’s proposal.

Rivera, the vice president of Congress and a four-term legislator from the capital city Tegucigalpa, represents the ruling National Party, which has held power for a dozen years. A general election is scheduled for November 28. 

The conservative National Party is embroiled in numerous drug trafficking and corruption scandals that threaten its grip on the government. Consequently, as the election approaches, party members have resorted to increasingly ludicrous stances on social issues.

Following a recent meeting with evangelical leaders, party spokesperson Edith Copland reportedly said that one of the leading opposition candidates “is proposing that our children be homosexual from the time they are children,” reflecting a conservative view on homosexuality seen around the region that suggests people are coerced into being gay.

Castrating sex offenders, if introduced in Honduras, would be one of the world’s harshest penalties for the crime. One of the most extreme examples is in a Nigerian state, where men who rape a child under 14 are castrated and then executed, while those who rape a person over 14 are castrated and sentenced to life in prison. Female offenders have their fallopian tubes removed. 

The Czech Republic allows for voluntary castration in extreme cases, while several states in the United States permit or require chemical castration, which is not permanent and is achieved through the use of pills that reduce testosterone and therefore the person’s sex drive. 

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Some studies suggest that surgical castration can reduce the likeliness that a rapist will reoffend, but the practice is riddled with ethical dilemmas, including the possibility of forcing the procedure on an innocent person, as is the case with the death penalty.

In Nigeria, where the law went into effect in 2020, some activists questioned whether castration may produce the unintended consequence of fewer survivors of sexual abuse reporting the crimes. 

In Honduras, the crime is already grossly underreported, according to human rights groups, which call it “an invisible emergency.” Adolescent girls are the ones most often targeted by sexual predators.

Despite the gravity of the problem, the proposal of castration doesn’t appear to enjoy widespread popular support and unlikely to make or break Rivera’s election success. 

Tagged:

world politics, worldnews

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