Most everyone has heard a report on television or radio news about a sexual assault on a child and had a visceral reaction to the cold, hard facts reported.

In fact, although the prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is an under-reported crime, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau estimates in a 2012 report that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse and children are most vulnerable to sexual assault by an adult between the ages of 7 and 13.

The short-term effects on the victim, such as bedwetting, thumb-sucking, poor performance in school, and distrust of adults, may resolve, but the victim’s suffering does not stop when physical wounds heal as they often face a range of psychological and emotional issues including anxiety, insomnia, and difficulty in forming relationships.

The state of Alabama will be considering a proposal to provide a powerful deterrent to child sexual abuse and physical impediment to recidivism by requiring the surgical castration of anyone aged 21 at the time of the commission of a sexual offense against a child aged 12 or younger as a condition to release after the expiration of his sentence.

The procedure removes the male’s testes, which produce 95 percent of testosterone, and is thought to reduce the libido of the perpetrator to avoid future offenses.

Several studies, including one in Germany showing a 3 percent recidivism rate, prove that surgical castration is effective in reducing the sex drives of many offenders compared to a 46 percent rate for those who do not undergo the procedure, however opponents argue that it is “barbaric” and can be thwarted by the use of easily obtained hormone supplements.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Steve Hurst, was read for the first time in the Alabama House of Representatives on March 3 and referred to the Judiciary Committee where it will have to pass before heading to the state’s House and Senate.


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