The Negative Effects Of Torture

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From Elizabeth Bȧthory’s torturing young girls in the 14th century, to the CIA’s use of waterboarding to gain information out of terror suspects, torture has long been a method used to further the agendas of individuals and organizations alike. Despite public outcry that torture is ineffective and a major violation of basic human rights, the practice remains popular. Torturing people for information is ineffective due to the trauma it causes both the interrogator and the detainee, and because torture rarely produces reliable information, whereas information gathered through a more significant relationship is more likely to be accurate. Some argue that there are circumstances that justify the use of torture, that torture will get the exact …show more content…
Countless studies have shown that “torture can have enduring negative effects on both survivors and perpetrators” for the remainder of their lives (Costanzo and Gerrity). Physical disabilities caused by torture can have psychological impacts, which often go unseen and, therefore, untreated. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, and depression are common in victims of torture and often lead to more serious consequences such as substance abuse and suicide. The interrogators also face repercussions, some of which can be even more dangerous than those which the survivors experience. Over time, the personnel responsible for the torture can become desensitized to their actions. Ordinarily, the decision to torture someone is made by a higher-ranking military official and the person that actually performs the torture is typically following orders and has no personal connection to the person being interrogated. This requires the interrogator to dehumanize his or her victim, forcing them to see not a person, but a mere resource, a store of information. Furthermore, many also mistakenly assume that everyone being tortured is evil or cruel and that they deserve harsh treatment as punishment. First hand accounts of innocent people being tortured due an intelligence agency’s belief that they are criminals are constantly being reported. Thus, the …show more content…
There is no way for interrogators to know if they have extracted the whole truth from a subject, so the only definite “stopping point of torture is the tortured’s death, the point at which he can suffer no more” (Davis). Whether or not the detainee had confessed with honesty and accuracy before that is at the discretion of the interrogator. Theoretically, the torturer could extort the complete truth but refuse to believe that he or she had done so and continue with the torture. Moreover, any intelligence acquired through torture is likely to be at least partially falsified and uncorroborated (Schiemann). Prisoners are willing to confess to anything in the hopes that the torture will stop and the process of verifying such information is difficult and time consuming. Jeannine Bell claims that the public makes assumptions about the accuracy of tortured information. The “torture myth” she describes is largely responsible for the public’s idea that torture will provide life-saving information in a timely manner, regardless of the source (Bell). This overwhelming encouragement of torture can distract from the empirical evidence that indicates the opposite. Without anything to dissuade them, “torture supporters may be inclined to read validation into equivocal results, reaffirming their attitudes and championing a course of action that is not systematically supported by evidence” (Ames

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