Actually, I have a very simple approach to the question of “slutty dressing” and rape incidences.

The concepts of “desert” and “duty” are quickly giving way to the language of “rights” with the concept of “responsibility” rapidly diminishing into meaninglessness. So my response is very simple. Since we are so technocratic, so enlightened and no longer living in the┬áprimitive world of retribution and deserts, therefore we can completely avoid those deontological concepts of a primitive Christian world of universal moral governance in favour of the purely positivistic and pragmatic language of empirical cause and effect.

In short, we need only establish certain positivistic empirical premises. Once it is accepted that “slutty dressing” and slutty behaviour does in a positivistic empirical sense increase one’s risk of getting rape, ignoring completely the deontological questions of whether one “deserves” it or “has the right” to it, then it is a very simple pragmatic question is who is to bear the cost of this increase risk.

The fact of the increase of risk is a simple statistical empirical fact, there is no normative or value judgement involved. Thus, assuming the very existence of the increase of risk, the only relevant question is who is to bear the cost. Now, one can say that the state and the legal system “should” bear the cost in increases in security and police to curb the increase of rape risks which comes with “slutty dressing”, and along with the increase legal costs which comes with needing to nit-pick the intricate complexities which comes to determining whether the slutty dresser “consented” to the sex given how complexly fluid and “free” our contemporary sexual practices are.

Or, one can simply say that the one who exercises the new “freedoms” be the ones who bear the cost and risks as well. That is, the state should not bother to spend any increase in funds to protect “slutty dressers” nor complexify the law to deal with the fluidity of our contemporary sex practices and its essential nebulousness. You can exercise your freedom, you just have to bear the cost.

Here is a parallel analogy to consider. You have the “right” or the “freedom” to go and smoke your lungs out. But it is a simple positivistic empirical fact that if you smoke you increase the risk of lung and throat problems, etc. Thus, the simple question is who is to bear the cost or consequences of your own exercise of your “right” and “freedom”. “Should” the state subsidise and bear the cost of your lung cancer treatments which results from your smoking? Or “should” the smoker himself bear the cost of his own behaviour and his own exercise of his “freedom” and “rights”?

We completely exorcise the entire moral universe of “deserts”, “rights”, “duty”, and “responsibility”, as phantoms of a long forgotten world run by God, etc. In this completely amoral and non-normative and value judgement free universe, we have the very simple empirical cause-and-effect equation. Every “freedoms” and “rights” comes with effects and consequences and increase risks. The only question is whether we as a society is to subsidise the consequences and costs of those risk or let those who exercise the freedoms and rights bear the cost of their freedoms themselves.

A lot of people make noise against the bankers who privatise profits and socialise their losses. That is, they make risky and dubious investments, which if the gamble pays off, they pocket the profits. But when those risky investments fail, they go to the government and the nation for a hand out and thereby “socialise” their losses, that is, make everyone pay for their failed gamble.

Likewise is every “slutty behaviour” and health-risk inducing practice likewise is a gamble, a risk. By behaving sluttily and adopting unhealthy practices like smoking, one is taking a gamble, a risk. If one doesn’t get raped or lung cancer, well and good, you enjoy the experience of your freedom of self-expression and your new and sensual experiences which comes with your fluid sexual practices. But when you do get raped or lung cancer, “should” one expect the state and government to pay for the “losses” of your gamble?

4 thought on “On Slutty Behaviour and Rapes”
  1. the analogy fails because in the case of rape there is another intelligent agent involved – the rapist. for smoking and risky market investments it is a simple case of cause and effect. in the case of rape the rapist is not a machine that operates on the basis of “slutty dressing = therefore i must rape”. if people are brought up to NOT RAPE no matter what, the correlation of increased risk would not be there. idealistic, sure, but just pointing out that your argument doesn’t hold.

    1. Do you know of anyone who is brought up to rape?

      Furthermore, this act of educating everyone… will also cost resources. And in order to educate them to resist a greater range of temptations will consume even more and more resources… unless you know of some way to force everyone to receive your education, as well as provide the means to provide it, the analogy holds I am afraid.

      To say that we can eliminate rape by teaching people to not rape is as pointless as saying that we can eliminate crime by teaching people not to commit it. Education is not omnipotent, it cost resources and is not infallible in its efficacy. Until that happy day when people will stop stealing simply by teaching them, you buy locks. Likewise until that happy day when people will stop raping simply by education, you teach woman to take measures to safeguard themselves.

      1. Yes. Exhibit A: India. Why do some countries or cultures have much higher occurrence of rape? Is it because their women dress sluttier than others? It’s in the culture. Which as I said is idealistic to think can be changed drastically, but the point is that IDEALLY the responsibility of reducing rape statistics should rest with raising generations of people with different values and culture. That’s why I brought up the hole in the analogy where in the case of rape the source of the problem isn’t a straightforward inanimate thing like chemicals in a cigarette or the free market, but intelligent agents who can decide how they will act in response to the stimuli of dressing. The correlation between dressing and risk isn’t that straightforwardly evident.

        I totally agree with teaching women to safeguard themselves according to the situation in their particular location/culture, as a necessary evil of dealing with the realities of life, but to equate this with a person “bearing the cost” when they decide to smoke while ignoring the statistical effects of smoking just isn’t an analogy that sits well. I see your point in the pragmatic sense of taking preventive measures when one knows the real risk, but isn’t there something wrong with saying the society as a whole shouldn’t “bear the cost”/put in some resources to do away with some of the risk/correlation in the first place (in the case of rape)? Since the “freedom” or “right” to be safe no matter your attire seems to be more valid than the “freedom” to put harmful substances in your lungs?

        Anyway it’s possible that the cost of changing rape culture should be borne by society not just to take away the consequences for people exercising their freedom of dress, but because society will benefit from having people with better values (reduced risk for “slutty dressers” is but one of the by-products).

        1. You don’t seem to understand my argument as to why does the analogy still hold. “Raising generations of people with different values and cultures” cost resources, especially the more “educating” you want to do, the more range of behaviour you want to program and restrain, the more resources it would cost. A person may not be an inanimate thing, but to regulate its behaviour and mould it according to your ideals will still cost resources, same as trying to treat lung cancer. And this education will require constant reinforcement and infusion of resources in every generation. “Intelligent agents” do not fall out of heaven, they have to be educated, nurtured and cultured on earth, and that requires very significant resources.

          The question therefore is, why should the woman who take their own precautions to dress in a manner which would reduce their risk of getting harm, foot the bill for the expensive education necessary to cultivate and nurture a wider range of behaviour, just so that other woman can dress sluttily? The analogy holds perfectly in the relevant ways.

          Society as a whole obviously do bear the cost to create general conditions for reducing risks, common to all, but obviously no society can afford to foot the bill to eliminate every risk, especially those risks which only affects special interest groups. There is nothing wrong with saying that there are some risks which society cannot afford to pay to reduce just for the sake some who choose to behave in certain ways. Should society foot the bill to bail out banks who engage in risky financial behaviour? Not all risks are justified nor society’s to bear. I have no means to judge which freedoms or rights are more “valid” (at least, not in the context of this post), I am operating on a cost-benefit analysis, and I don’t see why should some woman foot the bill to pay for the privilege of other woman to dress sluttily.

          If we are going to discuss “values”, I don’t see the value of enabling the freedom to dress sluttily. To not confuse the issue, I would rather leave the question of values, obligations and duties out, and simply focus on the cost-benefit analysis.

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