Rape and Responsibility on Moral Maze

Radio 4’s Moral maze last night had a panel of discussants discussing attitudes to rape, and in particular women’s responsibility for rape (presumably in response to this report that we blogged about here)

(Sorry, I think it’s only available to UK listeners).

Perhaps it is good that this is discussed on Radio 4. But prepare to be outraged by some of the discussion (at one point ‘equal opportunity’ is appealed to as a consideration in favour of holding men and women jointly responsible in some cases of rape. aaaaagggh). And there’s a serious want of distinction between causal and moral responsibility. And try not to scream at the question ‘doesn’t that paint women as weak and as victims and in need of protection?’.

If you want to make your views on this heard, there’s a R4 feedback programme at which you can do so, here

12 thoughts on “Rape and Responsibility on Moral Maze

  1. i seem to recall having listened to radio 4 programmes from america in past. i think it’s just tv programmes that are uk-only.

  2. ok, good. Then hopefully it’s available to all readers then.
    If you listen and are enraged as I was, I strongly encourage you to write to feedback with your views (I just did, whilst still bubbling and seething). I think it is important that the confusions and fallacies in this debate are addressed!

  3. btw – hello elp. Like you I;ve been away from the blog for too long! thanks for the round up you just posted.

  4. hello stoat & thanks jj! i think i’ll not ruin my lovely well-rested day by listening to this moral maze (!), but all the same it’s good to see you round too, stoat!

  5. I’ll second that “welcome back”, Stoat. You disappeared in the middle of a lovely chat we were having about your Women of Steel post last month. Bummer:(

    I’m not going to respond to this post because I couldn’t access the R4 thingie from where I am (Canada). Maybe it’s just my equipment? Besides, I’m starting to get a little neurotic about the way other bloggers seem to be reacting to my approach to dealing with rape and violence against women. “No sense trying to engage in productive discussion with a rabid/testosterone-impaired animal” (I mean RAPIST) seems to be having the opposite effect on other women here than the one I intended.

    I am looking forward to future chats, though. ttfn.

  6. Thanks all and hello!

    elp: i have already been told that I ruined a day due to the anger provoked by MM! It really is incendiary. It is particularly bad at the beginning, but worth (I think?) persevering, because (somewhat) more sensible things get said later.

    Xena: sorry for leaving the thread of the WoS post! You know how the term time loads sometimes just crash in…. Will try to pick it up if I can get to it! Look forward to more discussion in any case!

  7. I haven’t listened to that particular episode (yet), but I find that the overwhelming majority of the episodes of that show that I’ve heard make me want to scream. (That’s not entirely because of Melanie Phillips.) At the very least, the show serves as a bracing reminder to us USAians that people with British accents are not automatically our intellectual superiors.

  8. For the most part, the central issue for discussion was set up in this way:

    Consider a case of rape in which the raped woman behaved irresponsibly, in a way that made rape much more likely to occur. How, in such a case, can we apportion the blame? How much blame does the woman get, how much blame does the man get?

    I don’t think that this is uncommon – these discussions are often set up like this. This strikes me as a very odd way of thinking, for two reasons:

    (i) I don’t understand all this talk about ‘apportioning’ blame. The idea seems to be that when something bad happens, a fixed amount of blame is created which has to be shared out between the various parties. So if one person gets a bit more blame, someone else has to have a bit less. I don’t understand why people think like this.
    (ii) Even if one does accept the blame-sharing idea, it seems to me that it doesn’t really apply in this case. The reason is that the sort of blame that is due to the rapist is moral blame, while the sort of blame that is due to the raped woman is prudential.

    Am I missing something here?

  9. philosoraptor and tom: strongly agree with both of you! MM is maddening. and it’s very odd to talk about blame as if one could represent it with a pie chart.

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