I noticed a story about a woman who cut off her husband’s penis; the authorities are treating this as a crime that could earn her a sentence of life in prison. It occurred to me that rape seldom gets anywhere near so severe a sentence. Is this a case of double standards? Is rape as serious a crime as penisectomy? I could understand part of the argument: rape is often an impulsive crime of passion, but this crime was obviously premeditated.
Looking at extremes, we see that some rape cases, such as long-term sexual enslavement, usually do garner life sentences. Rape accompanied by torture often earns a life sentence. Can we establish the degree of egregiousness in rape that should earn a life sentence? As a first stab, I’d suggest that a premeditated rape of a stranger accompanied by physical abuse would be roughly equivalent to penisectomy. But this is such a subjective matter—any thoughts?