The Bobbit worm

Every time there is an incident of sexual assault on unwilling women, there is a sudden hue and cry about the culprit to be caught and castrated or even bobbitised.

Unfortunately with no such laws prevalent in any part of the world, such public outcry remains just an expression of anguish and nothing more.

The term ‘castrate’ is defined to mean the action of removing the testicles to render the male deprived of the power, vitality or vigour to undertake any sexual activity or experience any further sexual pleasure.

However, the term `bobbitise’ isn’t even part of the English dictionary though it’s extensively used to refer to chopping someone’s genitals.

Its origin traces back to an incident involving Lorena Bobbitt, wife of Jack Bobbitt in 1993 wherein she got back at her husband for a night of domestic violence and rape by chopping off his genitals. This case caught global attention which states that she later threw the penis in a field before calling the police who could locate the same and doctors were able to reattach the retrieved penis.

Shortly after this incident, whenever episodes of “Bobbittmania”, were reported, it was termed as bobbitising and the name Lorena Bobbitt eventually became synonymous with penis removal to such an extent that the terms “Bobbittized punishment” and “Bobbitt Procedure” gained social recognition.

The term “bobbittize” also entered medical literature. The Bobbit worm, which attacks its prey with scissor-like jaws, is named after the case, coined in the 1996 book Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific, in reference to Lorena Bobbitt, who was then very much in the public consciousness.

The name is inspired only by the scissor like jaws of the worm; the common supposition from the name that female eunicids cut off the males’ penises is baseless, and the worms in fact lack penises entirely, as they are broadcast spawners.

Would castration or even bobbitising solve this menace? Let’s be candid to admit that the rot runs deep and it runs deep within us, in our own veins.

We live in a society where abuse of mothers, sisters, daughters and women in general form part of our everyday conversation. It’s become part of our culture.

We are culturally programmed to be disrespectful towards women and treat them as sexual objects. Incidents of rapes, groping and eve-teasing grow out of that programming.

Rape is only one of the several forms of harassment women are exposed to in their everyday life. The act of rape just forms the top in a hierarchy of crimes against women we tend to be casual and dismissive about.

We are conditioned to treating eve-teasing as a minor, harmless offence. It happens everywhere – on campuses, railway platforms, inside buses and trains and in virtually every public space. Girl students treat their male friends making comments loaded with sexual innuendos at juniors in colleges with indulgent indifference. The policemen rarely find anything criminal in such acts and let the culprits off with a small warning.

Incidents of groping and stalking are common too. Ask around, chances are that many of your friends from the fair sex have faced these. Also, chances are that their objection to it has been dismissed by friends and seniors and even the police as frivolous. These are unavoidable hazards of being a woman and there’s hardly any point complaining, the victim is conveyed rather crudely. She is expected to swallow the humiliation, tolerate the culprits and get on with life.

Disrespect of women is the common thread running through people indulging such acts. The gravity of the crimes they commit varies only in degrees. The law should make both eve-teasing and stalking in all forms serious offences which would act as the first layer of deterrence against potential rapists.

The efforts to change things must begin at the bottom, within us. Emotions won’t lead us to anything concrete here. It’s time to dig around for real solutions.

Talking about harsh punishment to rapists without considering sexual harassment in other forms makes little sense.

We all believe and agree that India has a real bad reputation in terms of sexual assault and its repercussions.

After certain amendments though, in the year 2013, the law has certainly changed for the better, making stringent decisions in cases of rape. Different countries around the world have starkly different laws towards sexual assault though, as is evident from the list below.

Check it out!


  1. INDIA

After the Anti-Rape Bill of April 2013, culprits are liable to life imprisonment (which is actually 14 years), imprisonment for entire life and even the death sentence in the rarest of rare cases. The amendment also expanded to include a lot of other kinds of sexual assault that amount to rape.



The French are pretty hard-core about their rape laws. They hand out 15 year sentences for rape, which can be extended to 30 or life depending on the extent of damage and brutality.



Death by firing squad is what a rapist can expect in North Korea as his punishment. This country’s line of justice is not very clear and hence firing squad is used as a cover up.


  1. CHINA

In China, strict punishment is given to rapists. Rape is a brutal crime and a death penalty is declared once the rapist is convicted. This is done by firing a single bullet at the spinal cord joining the neck. Another punishment given to the rapists in China is castration. The same punishment is given for other heinous crimes too. It is worth noting that the court proceedings are very quick.



Saudi Arabia is one such country where laws are quite strict. If a person has been convicted of rape in this country, then he is sedated and beheaded in public within days of his trial.


  1. EGYPT

Punishment of rape in Egypt is death by hanging. This country still follows the old school method for punishment but rape is one crime that deserves death.


  1. IRAN

According to Islamic law, death penalty is essential for rapists. A rapist is given a death sentence in Iran. Even for other crimes, death is the penalty. Sometimes, the rape victim settles the case by taking compensation. In such a case, the rapist gets away with 100 lashes and sometimes imprisonment.



16 years in prison or sometimes life imprisonment is what a rapist can expect as his punishment in Israel. Same punishment is awarded to anyone found guilty of any form of sexual assault.



Any kind of sexual activity without the consent of both is regarded as rape in Norway. Punishment of rape in this country is an imprisonment of 4-15 years, depending on the extent of damage.



Rape cases are very far and few in Afghanistan, because you’ll be shot in the head within four days of being caught – that or hanged.


  1. U.S.A.

USA has two kinds of law- state law and federal law. If a rape case falls under the federal law, then the rapist can be awarded a few years of imprisonment to imprisonment for his entire life.



You’d be surprised to know that Russia doesn’t enforce the death penalty to rapists. Instead, they can serve anywhere between 3 -6 years in prison or 10 -20 if the damage is really bad!


Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code

  1. Punishment for rape —


(1) Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub-section (2), commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine unless the women raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which cases, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both: Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years.

(2) Whoever,—

(a) being a police officer commits rape—

(i) within the limits of the police station to which he is ap­pointed; or

(ii) in the premises of any station house whether or not situated in the police station to which he is appointed; or

(iii) on a woman in his custody or in the custody of a police officer subordinate to him; or

(b) being a public servant, takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in his custody as such public servant or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to him; or

(c) being on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a woman’s or children’s insti­tution takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on any inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution; or

(d) being on the management or on the staff of a hospital, takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in that hospital; or

(e) commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or

(f) commits rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age; or

(g) commits gang rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be liable to fine: Provided that the Court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term of less than ten years.

Explanation 1.—Where a woman is raped by one or more in a group of persons acting in furtherance of their common intention, each of the persons shall be deemed to have committed gang rape within the meaning of this sub-section.

Explanation 2.—“Women’s or children’s institution” means an institution, whether called an orphanage or a home for neglected woman or children or a widows’ home or by any other name, which is established and maintained for the reception and care of woman or children.

Explanation 3.—“Hospital” means the precincts of the hospital and includes the precincts of any institution for the reception and treatment of persons during convalescence or of persons requiring medical attention or rehabilitation.


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One thought on “The Bobbit worm

  • Change is not a one-night process. Like the problem has its roots rooted deeply, the solution should also start from deep down. And the most serious effort can be made by our education system, the social media and the surroundings offcourse.
    Request the people to understand one thing i.e.

    Hum nhi chahte haq Barabari ka, jab hum tumse aage jaane ki kabiliyat rakhte hai..
    Ho faisla Magar nishpaksh raasto se, na hum madam maagte hai na tumhe bewajah Jeet taufe mai adayagi karte hai..

    And as far as assaults are considered, if our voices will be heard at root level, the solution will build up from there only..


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