Moral Dilemma Friday: Would You Help Him?


For the people who’ve bothered to pop over, I thought I’d give you a moral dilemma to chew over, so that you don’t have to keep refreshing the page to within an inch of your life, only to find no new posts.

You’re walking along one evening, when you come across a guy who’s obviously been badly beaten on the ground. You rush over to help him, being the fine upstanding citizen that you are. Once you get close to him, you realise that you know who he is.

He is the local paedophile, who served time for raping and molesting several young girls a few years ago. He’s now out of prison, and was determined to get on with his life.

What do you do?

Do you help him out, like the fine upstanding citizen that you are, thinking that he’s served his time, and should be given the chance to move on, or do you leave him bleeding on the ground, because animals like him don’t deserve second chances?

What would you do?

21 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by alexajoy on December 19, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    I would still help him and then go on my way. Who am i to judge? I think pedophilia is disgusting, especially since I have four kids myself, but I could not walk by. Sorry.


  2. I’m going to take the middle ground here and say this. I don’t know that I would go over to give comfort or reassurance, but I would still feel obligated to call for help.


  3. Posted by Dorothy Mantooth on December 19, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Wow. Now that is a heck of a dilemma. I honestly don’t know what I would do. Certainly my instinct would be to help; I don’t know if I would honestly be able to walk away. But damn would I want to.

    I have to say, though, Alexajoy, your reply–“Who am I to judge?” shocked me. Who you are, is a human being and a member of society, and as such you have responsibilities to the rest of us. I find it absolutely terrifying that anyone could say of a man convicted of raping little girls, “But who am I to judge?” As if there is some way that raping little girls could be okay, or even justified, or as if raping little girls is on a par with stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family, or taking a night job as a prostitute to pay your child’s medical bills. In those situations–in many like them–a crime is committed, but we can all sigh and think there but for the grace of God go we, and who are we to say stealing or prostitution is an absolute wrong in those cases?

    There is no possible justification for raping little girls. NONE. AT ALL. Who you are to judge–who you should be to judge–is a moral human being who knows right from wrong. Raping little girls is an absolute wrong. We ALL have a responsibility to condemn evils like those. We have a responsibility to each other, and a responsibility to all of our children to not for a moment consider thinking it’s not our place to judge those who rape little girls.

    If you meant, “Who am I to decide if he lives or dies?” that’s different, and it’s an argument I can see and understand. But without judgment and the united front of society on issues like these, we will find ourselves living in anarchy, and we fail on our sacred responsibility to protect our children.


  4. Pedophilia is one of those things that I don’t believe there is any true “rehabilitation” from. What we’re sexually attracted to is hard-wired into our brains and that doesn’t change. Perhaps they can be trained not to give in to those urges, but if they’ve already done so in the past… I don’t hold much hope.

    Most folks who know me know that I’m pretty open about sexuality; I don’t care what consenting adults choose to do as long as it doesn’t involve permanent harm. I’ve shocked a few people by saying I don’t have an issue with adult/adult incest, as they are of age and able to consent. (That doesn’t mean it doesn’t squick me, but I’m not going to give someone shit for it.)

    But children cannot consent, and thus raping a child… just, no. No. No. No.

    There are very few things that I believe are an absolute WRONG and this is one of them.

    So were I to find the local pedophile on the streets bleeding to death, would I help? No, I would not. Not in the slightest. That’s a rabid animal we’re better off without.


  5. Posted by logophilos on December 20, 2008 at 1:14 am

    “Do you help him out, like the fine upstanding citizen that you are, thinking that he’s served his time, and should be given the chance to move on”

    No, I help him out as a fellow human being, and then what he does afterwards is a matter for his conscience and the courts.

    And I speak as someone whose dearest younger brother died as a direct result of being fucked up by child abuse, and whose other brother’s life was wrecked by being abused too. Our family was torn apart from *two* separate paedophiles.

    You’d be surprised how many “fine upstanding citizens” beat their children, cheat on their spouses, or rob their companies. Paedophiles who act on their impulses are vile, but they are at least mentally ill. Philanders, people who use belts and canes and hairbrushes on their kids, and thieves, don’t even have that excuse.

    I believe in redemption. I do not believe in rough justice. And I do not believe it enriches humanity to set ourselves up in kangaroor courts to decide who lives, who dies, or who is entitled to walk the street in peace. Because people who do that, often decide gay people, black people, foreign people and women who they think might be witches, don’t deserve to live either.


  6. Posted by West on December 20, 2008 at 1:59 am

    I’d call for help- because I have to be a better person than them. But offering comfort? Never gonna happen. And I’m with Nonny. I’m open and understanding to what people do- WHEN they are consenting adults. But children? They aren’t old enough to consent. They aren’t old enough to understand. And molesting children? Disgusting. Rape in general is disgusting. And I am perfectly willing to judge them for what they do. Maybe my view is colored as a rape survivor, but that’s the way I feel. But again, I’d call for help- leaving them bleeding in the road while they wait for it, sure- but I’d do it.


  7. Posted by Throwmearope on December 20, 2008 at 2:27 am

    I’d go over, help him, because I took an oath that I would do that, no matter what. I’ve saved the lives of a lot worse people than pedophiles. Because no one made me judge, jury, or executioner. This is black and white for me. I promised to use my skills to help people, no matter what.


  8. Posted by azteclady on December 20, 2008 at 3:41 am

    I’m with Jenn and West, I think I would call for help–and I would worry more about the effect that attack to the convicted, proven paedophile, would have on those who attacked him. Citizens should not take justice in their own hands, or else sooner or later an innocent who everyone “thought” did something, would be attacked.

    The judicial system is flawed, but it’s better than a free for all.


  9. I don’t know that the nurse in me would let me walk by. I’d make sure he was stable, call for help.

    It has nothing to do with being a fine, upstanding citizen, but with being a nurse and with being somebody who believes in compassion and second chances.

    Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t question myself every step of the way, but…eh…well throwmearope said it well enough. I gave an oath. Leaving somebody to bleed without helping goes against that oath.


  10. Regardless of what he’d done, I wouldn’t let someone die on my watch.

    Now, CARING whether someone lives or dies is another thing entirely…


  11. My feelings are pretty black and white on this. I’d leave the bastard to die. He raped children, and for me that’s something that I couldn’t see beyond. I equate baby rapists with serial killers. I see no point in them continuing to breathe the same air as I. Judgemental perhaps (and yes, there should be an ‘e’ in judgemental dammit!), but there are some things I’m very conservative about.


  12. Posted by Dorothy Mantooth on December 20, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Lol, Karen, I know there’s an e in it, but it just always looks so weird that I stop and think “That can’t be right.” And then I think if I spell it correctly everyone else will think it’s wrong so I just leave it without the e. It’s lazy and wrong of me, I know.


  13. Oh, I don’t disagree with you, Karen. Not at all. And like I said, I’d question myself every second of the way.

    And I’d probably kick myself, yell at myself and despise every moment.


  14. I’d call for help but that’s it. Maybe stay there, a good few dozen feet away, and make sure the people who did it don’t come back before the help gets there.

    I wouldn’t attempt to help him myself, though, as in getting in there and stemming blood loss or anything like that. Who knows what kind of stuff a rapist has, I’m not exposing myself, period.


  15. I’d call for help.
    Probably stay there until the help arrived.
    Then I’d go about my business.
    To me, it’s not about approving of what he’d done–that’s a no-brainer. He’s a human being who’s done evil things, injured children, ruined lives, even his own.
    But he’s still a human being.
    I’d try to help an injured dog I found on the street–and have.


  16. I actually faced a weird thing in real life: a very young man, a very good friend (however you define that), with whom I did martial arts for years, was found to be a pedophile, and convicted. I know he was abused by his father (sexually, beaten, emotionally, etc.). This is a kid who would help old ladies across the street, do volunteer work, etc. I don’t offer his abuse at the hand of his father as an excuse, trust me. I offer it as a relevant fact, one that psychiatrists would back up.

    I also knew the victims (none raped, but damaged psychologically, surely).

    I visited him in prison. I did. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Part of me felt like I was betraying the victims. Part of me simply felt a strong urge to visit my old friend, even though in my mind he was no longer a friend. As it turned out, he had already been attacked in prison (I’m sure I can hear you all saying “good”), he had basically given up on life, and we ended up praying together. I don’t think it did any harm or any good. I don’t know. But yes, I would help that dying man. Anything else would be vigil ante justice, and I don’t think this country is built on that. We need to change the courts. Until then, we don’t get to punish beyond a criminal sentence, or we’d all be fucked.


  17. Call for help, then walk away.

    In other words, the least amount I can possibly do to not reduce myself to the level of ‘killer by association’.


  18. Posted by Randi on December 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Oh wow, this is a doozy. Well, first of all, I’m with Karen in that I think pedophiles and seriel killers have given up their societal rights. I also think both are incapable of “rehabilitation”. And while I understand that many pedophiles are made, not born (vs. sociopaths, whom I believe are born, not made), they are not animals, and thus, have the ability to CONTROL themselves, though many refuse to do so. With that said, I would call the police, and stick around to make sure they arrive, but I don’t see myself helping.


  19. Help him? I’d be tempted to finish him off.

    (What a thing to say near Christmas! I’m going to hell for sure.)


  20. As a victim of a pedophile priest decades ago, I don’t know how’d I’d react. I’d like to think I’d be the better man and help him out, but I don’t know that I would.

    Some 20 years after the fact when my perp was sent to jail I cheered. When he died in prison I cheered and then I cried. It was very, very mixed feelings.

    I merely hope I’m never put in the position described in this scenario, because I think it would test my humanity and my view of myself almost too much.


  21. Pedophilia isn’t a matter of inappropriate sexual attraction. It’s about intimately violating someone who can’t stop you. Pedophiles who have been chemically castrated to remove their sex drive will continue to sexually assault their victims using items other than their penises because that is simply what pedophiles do. A couple years in prison does not render a pedophile harmless, nor does it clear the slate of the lifelong damage to the previous victims.

    I’d leave him to die, and I wouldn’t lose a second of sleep over it.


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