Kathy_Forth comments on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Denise_Melchin 11 November 2017 10:43:23PM *  11 points [-]

Hi Kathy,

as I said before, thank you very much for your research into this! I agree with you that it is an important issue.

I'd be interested to hear about estimates of how much sexual violence lowers quality of life compared to other issues like poverty and depression. My hunch is that it causes similar amounts of suffering (whereby similar means 'within an order of magnitude') but I don't have any evidence for this.

Unfortunately your post is somewhat long which makes it a bit hard to read. More structure and maybe splitting it up into a few posts would help. People, even EA forum readers, tend to be lazy - and it'd be disappointing if thereby fewer people get informed on potential strategies to address sexual violence. I'm happy to work with you on this if you like.

I have to admit that I haven't read your post completely yet myself, so therefore I'm only commenting on one point related to the content for now.

I disagree with your characterisation of people who commit rape. [Edit: Kathy actually doesn't mischaracterise this in the article, but since it's a common misconception which is important to avoid I'll let the rest of the comment stand.]

I think the idea of the dichotomy of 'rapists' and 'non-rapists' is fundamentally misguided and a case of fundamental attribution error.

The type of rapist which you describe in your post who consciously makes the decision to ignore lack of consent isn't the only type of person who commits rape. Therefore the study you're citing only constitutes a lower bound of the number of rapists.

This is more speculative, but I think it's likely lots of people have done sexual activities with someone else without having sufficient evidence that their sex partner is consenting. It's only most of the time they get lucky and the other person wanted the sexual activities as much as them. If they're not so lucky, that makes them rapists.

That said, I do think there's a spectrum here - between people who cannot quite be bothered to properly check for consent to sex every time and people who will happily ignore lack of consent to sex in most situations.

Only addressing the latter of those can thereby only be a start to addressing the whole problem. This also leads to the important question of how the number of rapes committed is distributed. Are most acts of sexual violence committed by a select particularly egregious few or by the presumably more common 'casual rapist'? Answering this question is relevant for picking the strategies to focus on. This is because it seems plausible that different types of people who commit rape require different strategies to stop them.

Thank you for putting so much time and thought into your post.


Comment author: Kathy_Forth 11 November 2017 11:10:16PM 1 point [-]

"Multiple types of sex offenders exist. We may not have a complete list of different types yet."

This is a direct quote from the article, from a section covering a few different types of sex offenders. Section name: "Why we should not assume that effective altruism repels sex offenders"

I can't cover every single sub-topic in entirety in every single spot where a sub-topic is mentioned. The article would repeat itself a ridiculous amount.

I also cannot remove all mentions of all sub-topics that have not yet been fully covered. That would ruin all the natural connections inherent in the information. The article would seem to leave out a huge number of obviously important things.

This is why I support the implementation of a social norm where one doesn't argue with an author until after they've finished the article.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 11 November 2017 11:21:00PM 3 points [-]

I agree that is a sensible norm. I'm sorry I implied you personally think that, I'll edit my comment accordingly.

However, since many people will stop reading before the article ends I think it's important to not get people get away with the impression this is what you think.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 11 November 2017 11:23:52PM 1 point [-]

Good point, Denise! Would you please direct me to the part of the article I should edit?