#MeToo & the role of Outright Belief

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 25 (2):181-197 (2022)
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In this paper, I provide an account of the wrong that is done to women when everyday people fail to believe allegations of sexual assault made by women. I argue that an everyday person wrongs both the accuser and women causally distant from the accuser when they fail to believe the accuser’s allegation. First, I argue that there are responses that we, as everyday members of society, owe to victims of sexual assault. A condition enabling everyday people to respond in the way owed to victims is that they have an outright belief that the accuser was assaulted. Actively suspending judgement about whether a crime occurred is in tension with the ability to respond to the victim in a way that supports and validates them. When an everyday person fails to have an outright belief in the truth of an allegation, they wrong the accuser because they risk failing to satisfy the conditions enabling them to fulfill their obligation to her. Second, I argue that everyday people wrong women who are causally distant from the accuser because in our social context, women are often treated in particular ways – especially in the sexual domain – because they are women. As a result, when women hear that an everyday person fails to believe a particular allegation, they easily project themselves into the accuser’s position and reasonably worry that if they were to be assaulted, they too would be met with doubt and disbelief by the people in their community.



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Alexandra Lloyd
University of Colorado, Boulder

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Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Oxford University Press USA.
Famine, affluence, and morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny.Kate Manne - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
Doxastic Wronging.Rima Basu & Mark Schroeder - 2019 - In Brian Kim & Matthew McGrath (eds.), Pragmatic Encroachment in Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 181-205.

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