Book Fight Club: The Hidden Roots of Sexual Deception, Harassment, and Assault

We’ve been meaning to do this for years, but never got around to it: selecting an important book relevant to what we do here for the resident brains trust to consume. There are infinite possible suggestions I’m sure we all have to make for this, which we will get to in due time.

Without much preamble, there is a ton of stuff in this book relevant to what we do around here—especially with regards to helping people actually understand why credible self defense programs are important for women who need one to defend themselves against stalkers, and worse.

When Men Behave Badly: The Hidden Roots of Sexual Deception, Harassment, and Assault

This book is a very uncomfortable read, but it is absolutely essential to confront this subject matter if you genuinely care about understanding it. Towards this end, it helps to keep in mind that there is a difference between why things are the way they are, and how they ought to be. The author regularly makes this point in various ways, being clear to confront the looming accusation that because some drivers behind behavior are innate in our species (and in particular, males), that this justifies or excuses them.

Stalking, intimate partner violence (IPV), and rape, are all a persistent problem in nearly every society even when there are harsh and quickly-imposed legal penalties for such, across all cultures to various degrees, and despite the most well-intentioned approaches to reduce these problems.

For example: Stalking.

One jarring, uncomfortable statistic observed in the book is how effective stalking is for the stalker. From the chapter on Stalking:

Our study of 2,431 stalking victims found that stalking does sometimes succeed, even if the victory is a temporary one. A full 30 percent of women victims agree to meet with their stalkers at their request; 13 percent agree to date them; and 6 percent agree to have sex with them. These numbers are quite conservative in that our study was biased toward including victims of unsuccessful stalkers, so the actual success rates are likely to be higher. Even considering these percentages, however, a 6 percent success rate in regaining sexual access may be better from the stalker’s perspective than the alternative future of becoming involuntarily consigned to total celibacy. Because the stalkers in our study are lower in mate value than their victims, even low success rates can render terror-inflicting tactics worthwhile from the stalker’s perspective, even if it comes at a large cost to the victim from her perspective.

Not content with simply explaining the reasons behind why some men choose to stalk women, the author suggests a specific plan of action for women to overcome this:

  • Enlist social support from family and friends to thwart the stalker
  • Cease ALL contact – any contact, even hostile, reinforces the behavior
  • Fully equip your defenses in expectation of an attack
  • Document every encounter
  • Delete your social media
  • File police reports early and often

David Buss runs the Evolutionary Psychology program at the University of Texas and is one of the founders of the discipline. If you want to pick up the book, Amazon has it on Kindle. It’s also available on Audible.

And if you’re an instructor who teaches self defense to women and would like to read this but are cash strapped right now due to the pandemic, for example, Bullshido can afford to buy one or two copies for that purpose. Shoot me a PM, and we’ll see what we can do. First come first serve, of course.

In the meantime, reply here with your own thoughts on the subject.