I wasn't sure whether to post this here, or on law, or on politics. But I eventually landed here since this SE seemed like the most middle of the road option.

My question concerns rape and how we respond to it.

It began with this question on politics: Why do some criticize Kasich's advice to a female college student?

This lead to several answers of varying quality. Most of them contained a common thread of feminist critique of Kasick's advice towards the young female college student to avoid parties where alcohol was being consumed. The critique was that Kasich was victim blaming rather than addressing the root cause of rape. The root cause being drunk college-aged men in this instance.

The thread stopped short of actually analyzing the question further than this.

It seems to me that what lies at the heart of this critique is a question of acceptable risk. I will outline how I arrived at that statement.

It seems obvious to me given the current evidence that rapes occur more frequently at college gatherings where drugs or alcohol are consumed.

This risk is unbalanced across genders because women are more likely to be the victims of rape at these gatherings than men.

Allowing the situation to continue as is without addressing it will likely lead to more rapes and the eventual voluntary self-removal of women from these spaces.

I think most people would agree with that outline, or at least the first two sentences of it.

I would reject a supposition of feminist theory that assumes that male and female sexuality are equally inclined towards rape and other physically aggressive sexual behavior. I go onto accept that a person's sexual inclination is something outside of their control. After that I arrive here.

There are some measures we can change that will lower rape at college gatherings with alcohol. However, we will either be unable or will find it morally reprehensible to enact the measures that will eliminate rape at college gatherings with alcohol. This elevated risk will still fall disproportionately on young women.

And my thesis statement that

a common thread of these discussions is a question of acceptable risk

is now (hopefully) apparent.

I've never studied philosophy, but are there any tools for determining what the proper recourse should be if we accept what I've outlined here?

What measures are open to us to limit these types of rape given different philosophical perspectives?

If answers could include a brief summary of their base assumptions and approach, then that would be most helpful.

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    You might be interested in Linda Alcoff's recent book Rape and Resistence
    – Not_Here
    Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 9:54
  • I don't have an answer (at the moment), but it might be worth having a perspective on the neuroscience of sexuality. See Young and Alexander's The Chemistry Between Us for a survey. This does not address rape directly. Also for social change consider diet and environmental toxins. This should aim at reducing violent crime in general and rape in particular. See Gundry's The Plant Paradox for an unusual view on a person's holobiome. He doesn't discuss rape directly either. For ethics in general see Haidt's The Righteous Mind and Moral Foundation Theory. Welcome! Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 10:38
  • It may be clearer if you examine the issue without explicitly considering rape. If you want to reduce [a crime], to what degree should the potential victim change his behavior to reduce the chances of [the crime] occuring? Is there an obligation to, or just a pragmatic opportunity to? Does that choice affect moral responsibility if [the crime] happens? If you're getting into particulars of feminist ideology, you're probably too far down the rabbit hole. Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


The question is

What measures are open to us to limit these types of rape given different philosophical perspectives?

One approach is to ask a slightly different question such as what measures are open to us to limit, not just rape, but violence in general?

An approach that might have worked in the past for violence is called the "lead-crime hypothesis":

The lead-crime hypothesis is the proposed link between elevated blood lead levels in children and later increases in crime. Children exposed to forms of lead at young ages are hypothesized to be more likely to develop learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and problems with impulse control. These problems are suggested to lead to the commission of more crimes as these children reach adulthood, especially violent crimes.

Regardless of whether this hypothesis is true or not it opens ways of thinking about the specific problem of rape. It may have a solution that benefits other forms of violence at the same time.

If one steps back further and considers disease such as dementia, diabetes or auto-immune diseases, as well as violence, an environmental cure for various diseases may indirectly reduce violence which indirectly reduces rape. In other words, solving a broader problem if one has the proper theory may solve specific problems.

Since one wants the solution to also help reduce violence and in particular rape, the solution should be something that is not specific to one of these diseases, like a pill or individual treatment, but more global to all of them such as exercise or diet.

Steven Gundry in The Plant Paradox proposes that proteins called lectins harm the holobiome of our bodies responsible for many of these diseases. This may be a global cause suggesting a global dietary solution. If this theory is correct then implementing dietary changes may benefit people with those diseases. If these benefits are even broader than those diseases it may have an effect upon violence and rape.

Whether Gundry's theory is correct or not or whether the lead-crime hypothesis is correct or not, they suggest that looking for non-specific, global solutions to specific problems may provide acceptable measures that might offer a chance of limiting something specific like rape.


Gundry, S. R. (2017). The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in" healthy" Foods that Cause Disease and Weight Gain. HarperCollins.

Wikipedia, "Lead-crime hypothesis" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead-crime_hypothesis

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    It seems to me you're suggesting rape is caused by some far-removed dietary or chemical factor, without actually specifying what that factor might be. That leads nowhere except random fear-based speculation: Is it lectins? Gluten? Pesticides? Fluoridation? Bovine Growth Hormone? Chemtrails? Unless we want to end up with the plot of Dr Stangelove, or of one of several X-File episodes, this will not do. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 14:44
  • @TedWrigley I am suggesting that diet and environmental toxins are where we need to look to reduce violence in general. Why? Because they are things we can change. And changing those two have had effects based on the two sources I provided. It has nothing to do with Dr. Strangelove. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 14:58
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    You don't remember that crazy speech in Dr Strangelove about how fluoridation of water is destroying the virility of US men and fostering godless communism? How is your suggestion superior to that? There are always things that can be changed, but we want to make changes that we know have meaning, otherwise we are wasting time we could be using to create real solutions. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 15:55
  • I do not see how this offers philosophical perspectives. This is about correlations which are - methodologically questionable - stated as causal connections, ie empirical sciences of sort. Maybe you could elaborate?
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 20:32
  • @PhilipKlöcking The philosophical perspective is to not look at this issue as primarily one of ethics. This is not to say we do not have free will nor that there aren't ethical issues involved. What I am saying is that there is more going on than ethics. In other words, I am partially reducing the problem of violence (including rape) to bad diets and environmental toxins. That is, I am reducing the problem to something that can be socially addressed. I consider that reduction process to be a philosophical perspective on the problem. Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 20:40

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