With the number of sexual assaults against women ballooning by the day, it is natural for the people and the lawmakers to feel that the current laws and punishments are not sufficient to deal with the menace. The calls for broadening the definition of 'rape' and raising the severity of the punishment are indicative of this general dissatisfaction at the failure of the law and the law enforceme nt machinery to check the rising instances of sexual offences.
Ever since an Additional Sessions Judge in Delhi recommended that surgical and chemical castration be made alternative punishments for the offence of rape and molestation, the issue has been intense debate. The punishment might appear to be a little too harsh and brutal, and a bit too 'uncivil', but the face is that for repeat sexual offenders nothing short of such otherwise cruel punishments seems to work. There are several advanced countries in the west that have resorted to such punishments to keep sex offenders in check and at bay.
Our problem is not deterrence, but lack of effective enforcement, which is in part attributable to the social stigma that prevents the victim from stepping forward. We may make the punishments harsher, but that alone wouldn't do unless the enforcement part is taken care of.