The Report: When Sentence Rhymes with Conscience

The research protocol is an exploration of the endless debate about the right penalty for sex crimes. Sexual violence is part of a serious public health problem related to power imbalance between genders, which mainly affects women. The entity of the problem brings a very big controversy in the way to punish this crime, which led us to focus on countries rather than on cultures in our research, because it is in the legislation that we find difference.
The first part of the report deals with the debate about the punishments for sexual violence from a global point of view. In the second part we focus on the point of view of Anglophone countries, the ones who talk the most about the death penalty; in the third part, that can be considered the central research deeply analysing the matter, the new focus is the controversy about death penalty for rape in India. The debate raised by a recent fact of crime that led Indian government to establish death penalty in case of sexual violence. The institution of death penalty was interpreted by many as the simplest way to silence the public protests that were arising.
The dispute is still hot and we can find evidence of this also in the results of our research, that shows how the web users act towards the issue and how intense is the debate about the appropriate penalty for rapists. You may realize that the focus of the controversy is not as black and white as one could think: the rightness of a penalty is strictly connected with personal background, culture and beliefs.

The Website: Is Death Penalty the Right Question?

Sexual violence may occur in various forms, and it is punished in different ways by states. Through our site we introduce the public to the controversy about the capital punishment for rape in India.
Despite the law for death penalty has been established in December 2012, the problem of violence against women is not solved. Death penalty punishes perpetrators, but everyday life still punishes women: child brides, spousal violence, female fetuses aborted, indifference of the institutions are the main problems.
The debate not only is incited by the crowds into the squares, but it also has a big eco in the complex reality of the web. The analysis of users comments in forums points out 4 factions about death penalty for rape: pro moderate, pro extremist, against moderate, against extremist. The factions have widely different opinions, even when they agree on the laws to be applied.
Probably a solution can’t be found because the question discussed isn’t the right one. Death penalty is not the right point to wonder about. Death penalty is not the right matter: if women condition won’t improve and the discrimination based on gender won’t be erased, no statutory measure will be effective. Finally, we encourage users to wonder what is “the right question” to be considered in order to solve the problem of violence against women.

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Federica Carbone
Francesca Casadio
Leda Palermo
Sara Piccolomini
Michela Zapparoli