Over the years the incidents of rape have increased quite dramatically. One might argue that this is true of all crimes and that is a fact as well. The way our Law and Order situation has deteriorated in the country is an indication of the ineffectiveness of our Constitution and the grotesque insensitivity of the self-glorifying parliament. We have written about this earlier too (see here, here, here, here and here). The way many of the people wantonly commit horrendous acts and roam about scot-free is a matter of grave concern.
In the present times of sexual permissiveness, consensual-sex and what not, the line between consent and lack of it is often blurred. However, that must not deter us from taking an extremely harsh stance against rape. We as Hindus must remember that the greatest of the two epic wars, one in the Ramayana and the other in the Mahabharata were fought for the dignity of women. We can not claim that we respect Draupadi and Sita while we allow their descendants to be ill-treated.
Rape is a crime of higher dimension than even murder. In terms of cruelty, possibly suffocating an infant to its death might exceed rape. In terms of suffering and humiliation, rape far exceeds other crimes like murder. There can be some debate about what should be the criteria to determine rape. However, once rape has been established, the punishment must be worse than death.
We have been arguing for the initiation of exemplary punishment, for otherwise it is already quite late and we may have no other means to deter future and budding criminals.