Pie Chart: Causes of Rape


Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/BWXv4

NOTE: Just in case anyone looking at this is colorblind, this pie chart says that the only cause of rape is rapists. (The title of the pie chart is misleading so be sure look at the actual pie chart.)


Harassment Source: http://memegenerator.net/instance/42347832


Rape Source:


Susie Green Source:




Lovingkindness Source:


Making Out

Making Out Source:


Yes or No

Yes or No Source:


New Sober BOyfriend

New Boyfriend Source:

 Talks to You

Talks to You Source:


Note: Just because some guys are rapists doesn’t mean women should lock themselves in their homes.

Incredibly Beautiful

Incredibly Beautiful Source:


Good Guy Greg

Good Guy Greg Source:

Source: http://memegenerator.net/instance/42347761



Rape 22

Source of Two Visual Aids Above: “This will never be okay.” Imgur. 17 April 2014



Rape 33

Source of Above: “This will never be okay.” Imgur. 17 April 2014



Rape 44

Source: I feellikeaturtle, “You’re still a dick.” Imgur. 17 April 2014



Source of Above: http://imgur.com/gallery/kTDgl


Kirsten Salyer: Why We Can’t Call Brock Turner a ‘Rapist’ (TIME)

Brock Turner has been convicted of sexual assault. He is not, technically, a rapist.


In the above article, Ms. Salyer argues that TIME ought to be able to call Brock Turner a rapist. 

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci said the rape charges were filed based on information in the police report, but prosecutors later dropped those charges after receiving the results of DNA testing on the rape kit, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Instead, Turner was convicted on three felony counts of sexual assault: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.”



Source and Recommended Reading:

Julia Brucculieri, “Zendaya Masterfully Shut Down This Twitter Troll’s Rape ‘Joke’” (Huffington Post)

On Sunday [3 July 2016], the singer and actress caught wind of a disgusting tweet sent by a user who goes by @ogxbenson and shut it down like a boss. The tweet, which has since been deleted, featured photos of Beyoncé, Zendaya, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj and referenced “The Purge,” a movie in which nothing is illegal for one night every year. It read: “If the purge was real who y’all raping?” 



Note: The above quote is by David Bruce.


How is This Not Sexual Harassment?



This is What Donald Trump Thinks of Women

This guy is running for President?


GUN Rape

No Means No

Source of above: Ana Samways, “Welcome to Someday.” Sideswipe. New Zealand Herald. 3 August 2017




SHORT POEM: I’m Not Your ‘ho‘

I’m not your ‘ho‘.

I’m not your cunt.

I’m not your bitch.

I’ll go a year without sex

If I want.

— Martina Donna Ramone

RECOMMENDED READING: Sophie Heawood: why I won’t condemn Chrissie Hynde (Guardian)

‘You can’t blame Chrissie Hynde for blaming herself for the assault on her as a young woman, or the whole cycle of non-empathy continues.’


Christina H.: “Everything A Woman Should Know (Before She’s Groped)” (Cracked)

Note: No room in the title to say this, but there’s a section at the end about what men can do to help.


Freeze 2

Carli_V, “Rape Culture” (The Friendly Feminist)

I know I said that I’d make a post about sexism in video games and comic books, but in light of recent events, I thought I’d talk about something much more serious. This post may potentially be triggering so I apologize in advance if it makes anyone uncomfortable.


Anonymous: “Trigger Warning: Breakfast” (Cartoon in The Nib)

The morning after I was raped, I thought I could create another story.


This Comic Perfectly Shows the Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Compliment (Viral Women)

Street harassment is not a compliment.


Snappy Comebacks to Sexist Comments and Situations

He: You’re a bit too thin for me.

Katherine Atkinson: That’s lucky because you’re a bit too thick for me.



Our first date was spent at the gym, where Robert showed me boxing moves and punches, aka self-defense moves. He also gave me some self-defense tips that I well remember. Some of his tips are very simple but very effective. For example, hair spray can be a very effective Mace, so a travel-sized can of hair spray in a purse can be a good idea — if you have time to get to it.  

Robert told me that a friend of his carried a small but sharp knife in her purse. When a date would not take no for an answer, she got out of the car. He followed her, so she pulled out the knife, held it against his crotch, and said, “Do you want me to cut it off? Remember: No really means yes.” Later, she talked to Robert, and then Robert “talked” to the date. 

He also told me that his favorite comedians, The Three Stooges, just pretended to poke each other in the eyes, but obviously, when that is actually done, it is very painful. And if it is done by someone with long fingernails, it can give the attacker a heaping helping of hurt, perhaps permanently.  

He also told me that often the best things to do are to scream and run away. If you have to kick off your high heels to run, it is a small sacrifice no matter how much the high heels cost. Don’t wear tight skirts that prohibit running. If you do, hike up the skirt so you can run. (Robert’s favorite fashions are the ones that allow women to take protective measures.) And screaming lets potential heroes know that you need help.  

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE BOOK IN VARIOUS FORMATS BY FOLLOWING THE LINK BELOW (or go to “Brenda Kennedy: Romance Writer” at the top of this page for other links to where you can download the book):







A man became obsessed by a woman, and he convinced his doctors that he would die unless he could sleep with her. However, the sages of the community said, “Let him die rather than have her yield.” The doctors then asked that the woman stand naked before the man in order to save his life, but the sages said, “Let him die rather than that she stand naked before him.” The doctors then asked that the woman talk to the man while standing behind a fence in order that his life be saved, but the sages said, “Let him die rather than that she talk to him behind a fence.” In other words, according to this story from the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 75a, if a man becomes obsessed with a woman, that’s his problem — she is not required to help him.

For More Information: Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Wisdom, p. 133.

RECOMMENDED READING: “Barbara Mikkelson: Learn How Not to be Where the Trouble Is”


MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING: This is an excerpt from the erotic satire FOR ADULTS ONLY book titled The Erotic Adventures of Candide, free downloads of which are available here:


One of the defining moments of Martina’s life occurred when she was gang-raped. She had cried for help, but no help had arrived. A rapist had held a knife against her throat, and she had stopped crying for help. As the rapists were busily raping her, they talked about the local professional sports team. When the rapists were through, one of the rapists had held the knife above Martina’s eyes as if he were thinking about blinding her, but he had suddenly gotten up and ran away with the other rapists. Then Martina had cried.

Now she talked to Candide about the gang-rape and about what it had done to her conception of God.

“Let’s say you are walking along the sidewalk and suddenly you hear a scream for help from the other side of the street,” Martina said. “You look and you see a gang of men has started raping a woman. What do you do?

“You have several options:

“One, you could run over and try to stop the rape.

“Two, you could stay on your side of the street but start yelling for help or call the police on a cell phone, hoping that the men will stop raping the woman.

“Three, if the situation seems sufficiently dangerous, you could pretend you don’t see anything, keep walking past the scene of the crime, then call the police.

“Four, you could pretend you don’t see anything, keep walking past the scene of the crime, then keep walking and not call the police.

“Finally, and some people have probably done this, you could walk across the street and join in the rape.

“Those are the options. What would you do?”

Candide replied, “Of those options, I would at least call the police. I would be a coward or evil if I did anything less.”

“Good answer,” Martina said. “I wish that you had been there and had seen me.

“Next question: Which of those options does God do?

“God is omniscient (all-knowing), so presumably He knows that the rape is occurring. God is omnibenevolent (all-good), so presumably He wants to help the woman and stop the rape. And God is omnipotent (all-powerful), so presumably He can help the woman and stop the rape.

“But what does God actually do in a situation such as this?” Martina asked.

Candide replied, “Rapes occur every day, and although I hate to say it, based on our experience I think we can say that God acts most like the person who keeps walking past the rape and doesn’t even bother to call the police.”

“Something definitely seems wrong here,” Martina said.

“I agree,” Candide said.

“For many people, the main reason they don’t believe in God is that evil exists,” Martina said. “The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus put the problem of evil in a dilemma:

“Premise one: If God is omnipotent (all-powerful), then he could prevent evil.

“Premise two: If God is omnibenevolent (all-good), then he would prevent evil.

“Premise three: Evil exists.

“Conclusion: Either God is not omnipotent, or God is not omnibenevolent.

“If this dilemma cannot be refuted, then it seems the omnipotent, omnibenevolent God of the Judeo-Christian religions has to go. After all, I personally cannot doubt the existence of evil after reading books concerning the Holocaust and slavery. Certainly, one visit to a Children’s Hospital should convince anyone that evil exists. The sight of bald-headed children dying of incurable cancer is definitely convincing to me. And we all know that rapes occur every day. As you know, I have personally been gang-raped,” Martina concluded.

“Of course, some philosophers mention free will when speaking about the problem of evil,” Candide said. “God does not commit rape; human beings do. And human beings can decide not to rape or harass women, or to prevent rape and harassment. For example, comedian Jay Leno once noticed a woman being harassed by a man, so he went over and pretended to be the woman’s boyfriend and chased the harasser away.

“And some people think that by facing evil in the world and responding to it well — perhaps by becoming counselors for other women who have been raped — we can build our souls and make them worthy to enter Paradise,” Candide concluded.

“If facing evil in the world and responding to it well is a good thing,” Martina said, “then perhaps the logical conclusion of your argument is that every woman ought to be raped and become a counselor for other women who have been raped. However, I doubt that many women will respond well to being raped. If it were up to me, I would cut off the genitals of every man who gang-raped me and put them in a giant blender, turn it on for an hour, then flush the liquid down the toilet. In fact, I would like to do that to the genitals of every rapist.

“Actually, I’d like to be God for just one day so I could make a few changes in the World. That guy whose name is on every list of date rapists written on the walls of women’s restrooms? Zap! You have two breasts and a vagina, and guess what? A guy who is just like what you used to be is about to not take no for an answer. That guy who tells racist jokes? Zap! Guess what — you’re black. That preacher who spoke about the ‘sin’ of homosexuality last Sunday? Zap! Let’s see how your male friends treat you now that you really, really like them. That guy who hates Jews? Zap! If you feel a pain, it’s because you’ve just been circumcised. The secretly gay politician who openly supports anti-gay legislation? Zap! Not only do you have the forty-year itch, your brain itches. Good luck trying to scratch it. The neo-con who doesn’t think that water-boarding is torture? Zap! You’re an innocent Iraqi who has just been arrested because American officers think you’re a terrorist. My advice to you is to confess — quickly. The torturers want to know if you wrote Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Confess that you did. The torturers want to know the next location you targeted for your terrorism? Make something up. Make up anything that will stop the torture, at least temporarily — and it will stop only temporarily.”

NOTE: If you download The Erotic Adventures of Candide, try to read past the first few chapters. This book has ideas, but it is also erotica.


An Excerpt from Resist Psychic Death:

In Bikini Kill’s early songs, vocalist Kathleen Hanna tends to repeat lines many times. She had a reason for doing this. The sound equipment Bikini Kill played live with was very bad, and she worried that no one would understand the words, and so she repeated them over and over so that the audience would hear them. Some of the lyrics deserve to be heard over and over — for example, she repeated these lines from the song “Resist Psychic Death” over and over: “I resist with every inch and every breath / I resist this psychic death.” By the way, near the end of his life, the heart of Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco grew weaker, and his cardiologist, Dr. Ignacio Chávez, recommended that he stop the strenuous work of painting huge murals and instead concentrate on the less strenuous work of creating easel paintings. However, Mr. Orozco refused to take this advice. Instead, he remarked to his wife, “I’m not going to do as the doctor says and abandon mural painting. I prefer physical death to the moral death that would be the equivalent of giving up mural painting.” So how does one resist psychic death? Some ways include practicing an art, doing good deeds, paying attention to your soul as well as your body, staying angry at the things that should anger us, and being aware of the fabulous realities that surround us despite the presence of evil in the world.[1]

[1] Source: Jannika Bock, Riot Grrrl: A Feminist Re-Interpretation of the Punk Narrative, p. 75. Also: Bárbara C. Cruz, José Clemente Orozco: Mexican Artist, p. 101.

Download Resist Psychic Death: 250 Anecdotes and Stories, free, by David Bruce here:


Download free eBooks, including books for teachers, by David Bruce here:


Free PDF book: William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure: A Retelling in Prose by David Bruce

Isabella has a problem. Vicentio, the ruler of Vienna, has left Angelo in charge because, Vicentio says, he needs to leave the city on a diplomatic mission. Angelo is strict and has made fornication a capital crime. Claudio, Isabella’s brother, has gotten his girlfriend pregnant, and as a result he has been sentenced to death. Isabella, a novice nun, pleads to Angelo to have mercy and not execute her brother, but Angelo gives her a choice: Either Isabella has sex with him and does not tell anyone, or her brother dies.


FREE EBOOK, FOR ADULTS ONLY: “I Want to Die — Or Fight Back”

This short story contains adult themes such as rape and other kinds of violence. This short story is not erotica.

Free downloads of “I Want to Die — Or Fight Back” are available here:



Amanda Madden: 5 Sexual Assault Myths, Debunked By An Expert (Cracked)

The most fortunate of us learned everything we know about sexual assault from two sources: Hollywood, and scandalous news stories that usually focus on the accused (since it usually takes a celebrity perpetrator to make headlines). Shockingly, they do not always paint an accurate picture of reality.


Patrick Coyne: 5 Hilarious Ways Women Got Revenge On Creepy Guys (Cracked)

Women are constantly being harassed by creepy dudes who have greasy mustaches growing right on their very souls. We’re not sure how the ideal scenario plays out in those perverts’ heads. “If I show this random girl my dick for no reason, she’ll fall in love with it. I’ve got a very lovable dick!” Oh, but sometimes that story plays out in a hilariously different fashion than the pervert intended …


#4. A Woman Gets Revenge On Online Creeps … By Telling Their Mothers






Victorious-Take a Hint (lyrics+video)


Why am I always hit on by the boys I never like
I can always see ‘em coming from the left and from the right
I don’t want to be a priss, I just try to be polite
But it always seems to bite me in the –

Ask me for my number, yeah you put me on the spot
You think that we should hook-up, but I think that we should not
You had me at hello, then you opened up your mouth
And that is when it started going south

Get your hands off my hips, ‘fore I’ll punch you in the lips
Stop your staring at my— Hey!
Take a hint, take a hint
No you can’t buy me a drink, let me tell you what I think
I think you could use a mint
Take a hint, take a hint
La, La, La….
T-take a hint, take a hint
La, La, La….
Source: http://www.directlyrics.com/victoria-justice-take-a-hint-lyrics.html

Free PDF book: Honey Badger Goes to Hell — and Heaven by David Bruce



The Kindest People: Heroes and Good Samaritans (7 Volumes, All Free)


The Kindest People: Be Excellent to Each Other (7 Volumes, All Free)


The Kindest People Who Do Good Deeds (7 Volumes, All Free)




David Bruce (born 1954): Is Rape Ethical?

Mama Bruce’s Ethical Rules

The rules of ethics are T-shirt simple, and chances are, your mother is an expert in ethics. I know that my mother was. Here are Mama Bruce’s T-shirt simple ethical rules:

  • If you are allowed to do it, everyone (in a similar position to yours) should be allowed to do it.
  • Treat other people the way that you want to be treated.
  • Do actions that have good consequences.

Mama Bruce’s Ethical Questions

Along with the ethical rules go ethical questions. These are questions that a person can ask when determining whether an action that person is thinking of doing is moral:

  • What would happen if everyone were to do what you are thinking of doing?
  • Would you want done to you what you are thinking of doing to other people?
  • What are the consequences of the action you are thinking about doing?

An Example of Mama Bruce’s Ethical Questions In Action

Of course, ethics systems should give the correct answer to the easy questions. For example, is rape moral? All would agree that rape is immoral, but let’s see how we can use Mama Bruce’s ethical questions to determine whether rape is moral. Let’s say that a man is wondering whether it is morally permissible to rape a woman.

  • What would happen if everyone were to do what you are thinking of doing?

Suppose every man became a rapist. What would happen? At first, of course, many more rapes would happen, but it is plausible that once women catch on to what is happening, soon a handgun will be in every handbag, self-defense classes for women will be widely available, and women will not travel alone. In other words, heavily armed women will be travelling in packs. (This could make a good science-fiction novel.) There is a contradiction here. A man makes the rule “I will rape women” so he can rape women, but if every man follows the rule, soon it will be very difficult — and dangerous — to attempt to rape women.

  • Would you want done to you what you are thinking of doing to other people?

Some men may say, “I would be very happy if a woman were to rape me,” but of course that would not be rape. Rape is unwanted, forced sex, and if a man wants a woman to rape him, that is not rape. The proper way to answer this question is to think of an example of unwanted, forced sex. For example, the man is in a locker room shower, he drops his soap, he bends over — and the guy in back of him gives him an unwanted, forced surprise. In this case, few if any men would want done to them what they are thinking of doing to women. (And if they do want it done to them, once again it is not rape.)

  • What are the consequences of the action you are thinking about doing?

Some men may point out that some women who have been raped go on to become rape counselors for other women, and/or become experts in self-defense and teach self-defense to other women, and/or volunteer at a 24-hour crisis hotline, etc. These things are good, and they probably would not have happened if the woman were not raped, so aren’t at least some of the effects of rape is this case good? Of course, that is a faulty way of looking at the situation. There are two sets of consequences here, resulting from two different actions. The first action is the rape itself, and the consequences of rape are bad. The rapist commits the rape, the consequences of the rape are bad, and the rapist is responsible for doing the bad action. The second action is the woman’s response to rape. Some women do become experts in self-defense and teach self-defense to other women, and/or volunteer at a 24-hour crisis hotline, etc. They do the action, the consequences of the action are good, and they deserve the credit for doing the good action.

NOTE: David Bruce (born 1954): Is Rape Ethical? is PUBLIC DOMAIN.


David Bruce (born 1954): Sex and Lying

The situation:

You are a guy, and you have been on a first date with a woman that you really don’t care for, but who you know does care for you very much. You realize that she is receptive to having sex with you. You realize that if you do have sex with her, you will never call her again. You also realize that she will be very hurt and know that she’s been used when you don’t call. At the same time, you realize that you sleep alone more often than you like to admit. The choice is yours: 1) sleep with the woman and promise to call her, although you realize you never will, or 2) say goodnight to the woman, and never call her.

What I would do:

In a situation such as this, I would say goodnight to the woman and never call her. So what if I sleep alone more often than I like to admit.

What Aristotle would tell me to do:

Aristotle believed in the mean between extremes and in being virtuous. With the mean between extremes, I would try to avoid excesses and deficiencies of character traits and instead aim for the Golden Mean. (Of course, I would keep in mind that for actions such as adultery there is no mean — just a little adultery is still an excess.) In this situation, two different means between extremes come into effect:


Boastfulness (Excess)

Truthfulness (Virtue)

False Modesty (Deficiency)  


Promiscuity (Excess)

Sex with someone you love — many people would say, are married to (Virtue)

Chastity (Deficiency)

First is truthfulness. In this case, there is an excess and a deficiency. The excess is always telling the truth even if it unnecessarily hurts someone. In this case, if I were to tell the woman I didn’t like her and never wanted to see her again, I would be engaging in an excess of truthfulness. (If I were married to the woman and wanted to divorce her, then I would owe her an explanation, but in this case, the woman and I are on a first date. I believe that the woman would rather that I never call her again than to hear why I really don’t care for her.) Lying is a deficiency and should be avoided, so I shouldn’t lie to the woman. The second mean relates to sex. I have no doubt that Aristotle would regard chastity as a deficiency of sex in the case of normal adults. (Of course, chastity is all right for children. Also, priests can have a good reason for being chaste.) Still, we know that Aristotle was concerned about society and man’s place in it. I believe that Aristotle would regard sex between committed, caring adults to be the best sex possible. Since Aristotle was concerned with actualizing human nature, I think that he would agree with Colin McGinn that sex involves a contract between consenting adults. As Mr. McGinn wrote that

having sex with someone is a sort of personal contract, an agreement carrying certain responsibilities. This contract involves not knowingly risking the transmission of disease, not betraying your partner’s confidence, acting afterwards with kindness and consideration, not telling lies about your long-term intentions, and so forth.

Source: Moral Literacy (Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co., 1992), p. 56.

With these things in mind, I believe that Aristotle would advise me to say goodnight to the woman and never call her.

What the Will of God would tell me to do:

Two verses from the Bible are relevant here. The first is from the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not lie.” The second is from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “Flee fornication” (I Cor. 6:18). With these verses in mind, I think the will of God would be for me to say goodnight to the woman and never call her. Somehow, I think God is in favor of commitment and marriage and families.

What a Utilitarian would tell me to do:

Utilitarians are concerned with providing the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Utilitarians also believe that we must consider the happiness of every person affected by an action. I believe that saying goodnight to the woman would result in the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Something important to keep in mind here is that in determining what I ought to do, I must consider everybody affected by my actions. In this case, clearly the woman will feel very unhappy if I never call her after sleeping with her. She will realize that she has been used — never a good feeling — and this unhappiness will outweigh whatever pleasure was felt by us during the sex act. In addition, I personally would feel guilty because I used the woman. Most of us have been dumped at one time or another, and so we can empathize with someone who has been deliberately used, then dumped. I suppose some guy could say that he is so fantastic in bed that the pleasure of the sex act will outweigh the pain of being dumped, but in my opinion that man is overestimating his ability in bed. (And if he really is that good, think of the woman’s pain when she realizes that she will never again sleep with someone that good!)

I believe that a rule utilitarian such as John Stuart Mill would advocate a rule saying not to deceive someone in order to sleep with her when you know you will dump her in the morning.

What the Categorical Imperative would tell me to do:

If I sleep with the woman tonight, then dump her in the morning, the maxim of my action would be this: “It’s OK to lie to a woman in order to get her to sleep with you even though you know you will dump her the next day.” The first thing to ask is whether this maxim is universalizable. Although many people in fact act this way, this maxim is not universalizable. To understand this, remember Kant’s example about the lying promise a man made in order to borrow money even though he knew he could never repay it. He makes the lying promise to borrow money, yet if everybody made lying promises to borrow money, soon no one would be able to borrow money because all possible lenders would laugh in the would-be borrowers’ faces. Lying to a woman to get her to sleep with you is similar. The lie works only because many men keep their promises to call the next day. If we attempt to universalize the maxim, we see immediately that no one would ever be able to sleep with a woman after making a lying promise because the woman would laugh in the man’s face. Instead, jewelers would sell many wedding rings, and sex would happen after marriage.

The next thing to do is to determine whether the maxim is reversible. Of course, it is not. Many men would probably say that they would love it if women would sleep with them then never call them. (Sex without responsibility! A young man’s dream! If this is torture, then nail me to the wall!) However, that situation is not similar to the situation of the young woman who really, really likes the young man who lies to her in order to get her to sleep with him. To make the situation similar, think of a young woman who uses you, then cuts your heart out and stomps on it. Furthermore, the man is willing to deceive someone else’s daughter, sister, or mother in order to get her to sleep with him. Is he willing for someone to do the same to his daughter, sister, or mother?

In addition, reversibility means that you have to put yourself in the used woman’s place. No one wants to be used and then dumped, and this woman has been. No one would want to be in the used woman’s place. So, the maxim fails the test of reversibility. Plus, you want to use someone’s daughter; are you willing for someone to use your daughter, once you begin to have children?

Another test involves asking whether the man is treating the woman as an end or as a means. If he regards her as valuable in herself, then he is treating her as an end. If he treats her as valuable only for something else, then he is treating her as a means. In this case, the man who makes a lying promise is clearly regarding the woman only as a means to an orgasm. The woman isn’t valuable to the man — only the orgasm is valuable to the man.

Clearly, the categorical imperative would tell me to say goodnight to the woman, and never call her.

A final comment:

In this situation, all four ethical theories are in agreement about what one ought to do. It’s nice when ethical theories agree like this; however, often the theories don’t agree. When they don’t agree, spend some time thinking about why they don’t agree. Often, it’s because the theories were developed to tell how we ought to relate to other humans — when it comes to animals or fetuses, it’s unclear whether animals or fetuses should count as much as humans. All I can advise you to do is to consider each of the four main ethical theories you have studied and try to determine which one is most relevant to the ethical issue you are considering.

NOTE: David Bruce (born 1954): Sex and Lying is PUBLIC DOMAIN.


David Bruce (born 1954): HARASSMENT

The situation:

You are walking the streets of your town alone early in the morning after a night out when you see a woman being harassed by three drunk men. There is no doubt that she is being harassed because she is crying and the men are yelling “slut” and “whore” at her. The choice is yours: 1) use your cell phone to call the police, then render what aid you can, or 2) keep walking and go home.

What I would do:

In a situation such as this, I would use my cell phone to call the police, then come back and yell at the three drunks (from a safe distance) to let them know there is a witness and to tell them that I have called the police.

What Aristotle would tell me to do:

Aristotle believed in the mean between extremes and in being virtuous. With the mean between extremes, I would try to avoid excesses and deficiencies of character traits and instead aim for the Golden Mean. (Of course, I would keep in mind that for actions such as adultery there is no mean — just a little adultery is an excess.) When it comes to courage, an excess is foolhardiness and a deficiency is cowardice; the Golden Mean is courage:

Foolhardiness (Excess)

Courage (Virtue)

Cowardice (Deficiency)

A foolhardy person would probably ignore his cell phone and instead go up to the three men and try to fight them off. This may be unwise because instead of just the woman being harassed, the foolhardy person could also be beaten up. Possibly, the foolhardy person could be beaten for his trouble, and since he didn’t call the police, no help would be on its way. A coward would ignore the situation, go home, and not call the police. People sometimes do this, but it seems the least any moral person could do is to call the police. Calling the police would be the action that is the mean between extremes and is what a virtuous person ought to do.

What the Will of God would tell me to do:

A relevant Christian (of course, I realize that not all religious people are Christian, but I am saying what I would do) parable here is that of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan found a man who had been robbed and beaten, but the Good Samaritan did not ignore the man’s plight. Instead, the Good Samaritan took care of the man and made sure he healed. Taking care of a person after they have been hurt is very good, and preventing a person from being unnecessarily hurt is even better. I think the will of God would say to render assistance to people who need it. In this situation, I think the best way to render assistance is to call the police.

What a Utilitarian would tell me to do:

Utilitarians are concerned with providing the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Utilitarians also believe that we must consider the happiness of every person affected by an action. I believe that calling the police would result in the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Certainly if I call the police, several people will be happy. Most important, the woman would be happy, but her family and friends would also be happy. I would also be happy because I would be a hero for calling the police. If I would not call the police, I believe that living with myself would be very difficult because I would know that I was a coward. The police would be happy, for their job is to protect the public and doing one’s job competently is a source of pleasure.

However, we also have to consider the happiness of the three drunk men. Certainly they would not want to be arrested, and their families and friends would be unhappy to read of the trouble they had gotten themselves into. So let’s consider several actions, and let’s see which action would bring about the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. The best action by this standard would have been for the three drunk men to leave the woman alone; unfortunately, they did not do this.

The worst action by this standard would be for me to ignore the situation, not call the police, and instead go home. This would be bad for the woman, for the woman’s family and friends, and for me. In addition, I believe that it would be bad for the men. One of the best things that can happen to a person is justice, and justice in this case requires that the three drunk men be caught and punished. A person who gets away with something he shouldn’t have can lead an unhappy life. For example, a person who goes to Las Vegas and wins can become a compulsive gambler. (I’ve known a few.) It’s much better to lose; that way, you’re less likely to become addicted to gambling.

Since the three drunk men did not do what they should have done (leave the woman alone), the best action now available is for me to call the police. That way, the woman will be helped, I will be a hero, and the three drunk men may be caught and punished (and perhaps learn not to harass women). This actually may be a good consequence for the three drunk men, for they are not stopped, they could commit a much more serious crime and be branded as sex offenders.

I believe that a rule utilitarian such as John Stuart Mill would come up with a rule saying not to harass someone, but if someone is being harassed, to render any aid you can.

What the Categorical Imperative would tell me to do:

If I choose to ignore the situation and go home without calling the police, the maxim for my action would be, “When a woman is being harassed, ignore the situation and go home without calling the police.” This maxim is universalizable (many people probably would do this) without contradiction in the Kantian sense; however, the maxim is not reversible. If I were the woman who is being harassed, I would certainly want someone to help me. The maxim also fails the second formulation of the categorical imperative. To treat the woman as an end, I should help her by calling the police. In addition, I believe that in order to treat the three drunk men as ends, I ought to call the police. These men are worthy of being caught and punished; to treat people as being valuable, you have to consider them worthy of praise when they do something right, and worthy of blame when they do something wrong. I also believe that if I were one of the three men harassing the woman, the best thing anyone could do for me would be to call the police on me. I would hate for the violence to escalate and for me to become guilty of something worse than verbal harassment.

A final comment:

In this situation, you have a cell phone, so the best thing to do would be to call the police. (After all, you should call the fire station before attempting to put out a fire on your own because the fire may grow out of control.) If there were no phone handy, what ought I to do? One possibility would be to stay across the street, but yell at the three drunk men that I have called the police — a lie may work. If other people are around, I could alert them to the situation and perhaps the three drunk men would soon face several angry people — not just one. A final possibility would be to go across the street and render what aid I could; this is the most dangerous action and would take a very courageous person to do it, but if other means of rendering aid are not available, this dangerous action may be the best choice and may be what the mean between extremes, the will of God, utilitarianism, and the categorical imperative demand.




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