Thoughts on Reducing Rape


Around this time, the UBC was having a problem with rape on campus, and put up a lot of signs that said "Don't Walk Alone at Night!". The following alternative was suggested:
"We could achieve so much if all the energies devoted to telling potential victims to 'avoid rape' were channelled instead into educating people on how to 'not rape.'"
My response was: All men are born knowing how to not rape women (and do so at least most of the time), and they have to learn (or discover on their own) that there is another option. As to question is what will make them not take that other option, I don't think throwing more social effort at the problem will help a lot. I know of five categories of reasons on why not to rape someone:
  1. Moral codes: I only know of one ethical system (might makes right) that allows rape, and it is already absolutely condemned by ever trick we (as a society) know. And everyone knows that
  2. Social pressure: I assume that there are (non-obvious-to outsiders) communities where this pressure is weak or lacking. However, they have proven very resistant to our propaganda so far, so I doubt that stepping it up would have much effect.
  3. Fear of legal action: There may be some possibilities here. However, in this direction there lies the danger of false accusations (which can be very damaging if long-term records are kept and the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" is put in abeyance). The other difficulty is that a rape charge must establish "beyond the shadow of a reasonably doubt" that the woman was unwilling at the time (instead of changing her mind afterward), and this is often difficult.
  4. Fear of the woman: Quite a bit could be done to make women more dangerous, but there are three big problems. Firstly, this is dumping the responsibility for solving the problem on the victims, which is unfair. Secondly, men are naturally bigger and stronger, so I assume that if they had the equivalent training, they would still be able to overpower the women. Thirdly, this is a big step in the direction of vigilante justice, which often turns out badly (especially if lethal force is used, leaving the victim's word this was anything other than murder). As a side note, if anyone is planning to carry a sword, make sure it is a short one; you can't use a long sword at close quarters.
  5. Lack of opportunity: This is what the signs are trying to achieve. It shares the problem of expecting the potential victims to solve the problem.
There have also been attempts a technological solutions to this problem (look up Anti-Rape Device on Wikipedia). I do not know how well they work, but I approve of the idea.

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