A case for “ostraka” of Sex Offenders

The instances of violence against women is on the rise in India. Obviously, the Bangalore NYE event and the video circulating is creating waves all over the interwebs. Even years after the Nirbhaya incident, we seem to be in a state of constant condemnation against these incidents. Some of us feel that boys should be held more accountable across the board, while others feel that girls need to be more mindful of their surroundings. While I agree with some of these viewpoints, I believe that we have gone beyond the thresholds and tolerable limits to “educate” rapists and molesters.

I hope to add a slightly different perspective here. In Ancient Athens, widely known as one of the most evolved democracies in the world, citizens followed the practice of “ostraka” or what is referred to today as “ostracism”. The people would vote on a citizen or citizens that would be exiled from the city-state for upto 10 years. Anyone who is a threat to the state would be added to a list and exiled. Obviously, there would be a certain number of votes required to perform this.

This leads me to my point. I strongly believe that we need to follow a modern day version of this, with a generous dose of technology added to the mix. Known sex offenders, like the chaps who were arrested for molesting the lady in Kammanahalli and others, must be declared by some form of official record as Sex Offenders. This list/database must be used to query records of citizens for any social services. For instance, for a sexual offender to obtain admission to a prospective college, the college should be able to query this database (just like the Aadhar number) and obtain details about any criminal records, especially sexual crimes and blacklist the individual, denying admission, etc.

This can be extended to any form of social services, like:

  • Passports

In addition, this needs to be made publicly available to individuals who can query this database to check if their maid, driver, household help is a known sex offender.

By “ostracizing” sexual offenders, we can effectively force parents/family members and society at large to drive the fear of god into these folks about the impact of appearing on this database.

I firmly believe that expelling these people from normal society would be an effective and simple way of driving home the point to all of those elements in society who condone or encourage such incidents.

We are fighting a tough battle here and will need all means possible to make effective change happen.



CTO of we45 (An AppSec Company), DevSecOps Greasemonkey, Passionate Security Technologist and Creator

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Abhay Bhargav

CTO of we45 (An AppSec Company), DevSecOps Greasemonkey, Passionate Security Technologist and Creator