By Diana Hsieh
In the 9 September 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed fear of rape, and I thought it might be of interest, given that the matter has been hotly debated in the atheist community. The question was:
Should men be sensitive to women's fears of being raped? Recently, I became aware of an ongoing debate among the online atheist community regarding proper conduct of men toward women they do not know. In a June 2011 video reporting on a conference, "Skepchik" Rebecca Watson talked about her experience of being asked to the room of a strange man in an elevator at 4 am. That invitation made her very uncomfortable, and she thought it was very wrong to so sexualize her. Her comments created a firestorm of controversy. Do you think that men need to be sensitive to women's fears about being raped? Should women have such fears around unknown men?My Answer, In Brief: When dealing with strangers, a person should always be aware of the context, so as to avoid seeming to be threatening to the other person. Moreover, men need to take some extra care in dealing with women they won't know. That's because women are more physically vulnerable than men, and because prominent women are often subject to threatening sexual harassment.
Download or Listen to My Full Answer:
- Duration: 22:17
- Download: MP3 Segment
- Rebecca Watson: Video: About Mythbusters, Robot Eyes, Feminism, and Jokes (4:00 to 5:45)
- Mail & Guardian: Dawkins, Watson and the elevator ride
A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on fear of rape, conflicts between family members, prayers of atheists, bans on smoking, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 9 September 2012.
Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.