Roosh, Rape, and Risk

In “How to Stop Rape,” an article written for his namesake neomasculinity-centered website, author and pickup artist Roosh V (full name: Daryush Valizadeh, owner of the Return of Kings website) did not genuinely advocate a real-world policy of the legalization of coercive sexual interaction, or rape. I will demonstrate this by abstracting the essentials of the views he expressed in said article, which hereinafter I will refer to as HTSR.

The question Roosh addresses in HTSR is the following: can someone reduce their risk of being raped? This can be treated in a formal way or a non-formal way. I will attempt to translate the essentials of Roosh’s views into a formalization. But why did Roosh not do this himself in HTSR? There is a trade-off between the formalization of an item of content and the extent to which it is likely to garner attention. This is especially true for items of content meant for mass distribution, or for public consumption so to speak.

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On February 3, Roosh posted the following on his Twitter account: “I’ll state once again: the ‘How To Stop Rape’ article was satire. Neither me or my supporters want rape to be legalized. The media is lying.” Satire can be defined as social folly being analyzed in an informal medium by way of exaggeration. HTSR integrates satire into an outrageous but nonetheless idea-provoking thought-experiment.

My formalized abstraction of HTSR’s question at hand will treat the views expressed in HTSR in a manner consistent with the principle of charity, and perhaps even reveal their core merits:

1. One cannot rape oneself.

2. The arithmetical mean risk of rape occurring, or what we may call the average potential incidence of rape, is necessarily above-zero in every context/situation involving more than one person.

3. But the statistical incidence of rape is not equally distributed among every context/situation involving more than one person.

4. Thus, contexts/situations exist in which one is more likely to be raped by another person(s) as opposed to other contexts/situations.

5. Conversely, contexts/situations exist in which one is less likely to be raped by another person(s) as opposed to other contexts/situations.

6. The average potential incidence of rape clusters non-trivially in certain contexts/situations as opposed to other contexts/situations.

7. If the information of what contexts/situations (their constitutive elements being certain factors, some being controllable) influence (increase or decrease) the average potential incidence of rape were made known to the public, it is hypothetically possible for a potential victim (AKA any person in any context/situation involving more than one person) to have the data they can incorporate into their evaluations of risk exposure, and thus decrease the chance of them getting raped, though by no means making it zero.

8. If rape were not-illegal in non-public areas, ceteris paribus rape would prima facie be more likely to occur in non-public areas.

9. (8) would be knowledge that an individual can incorporate into their evaluation of risk exposure.

10. Women are disproportionately more likely to be raped than men.

11. Women disproportionately would take account of (8-10) to decrease their risk of being raped.

12. Thus, women, if they wanted to decrease their risk of being raped, would change certain factors in how they approached non-public areas.

13. As for the implication of this line of thought: we can suppose that even without such a hypothetical scenario as (8), there exists information that can be used in adjusting one’s risk of being raped.

14. (11-13) does not entail victim blaming, but rather an acknowledgement of the structure of risk exposure itself.

The above is a line of thought worth taking seriously. The production of a thought experiment, especially when renounced as not reflecting a thinker’s actual desires, does not warrant inextricably linking said thinker with said thought experiment as has been done to Roosh, with many organizations and publications labeling him a “legal rape advocate.” This is not meant to be apologetics on behalf of Roosh, but rather a recognition of what Roosh did and did not intend to communicate.

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