On orders, women will torture as readily as men


Nazi Germany stamp - wikipedia_300pxMost of us have heard of the experiment done in the 60s where a bunch of students (mostly male) were asked to administer increasingly stronger shocks to a “subject” in the next room (another student who reacted with screams and begging as the “shocks” grew worse but was really not feeling anything).

A scientist just recently set up the same type of experiment and found that women were just as likely to continue administering the worsening shocks as men were.  Thought processes:




“Everyone was doing it” so it seemed to be okay.

The “victim” was in another room and couldn’t be seen suffering.

Because the authority figure ordered it, the shockers could feel the responsibility was his rather than theirs. “I had to do it. I was following orders.” (Movie: A Few Good Men. Nazi Germany.)

One of the conclusions the scientist reached was that seemingly women can be just as cruel as men, but they don’t often get the opportunity to do it in a public way or on a large scale–because jobs with that kind of power are taken by men.

I’m remembering a line from some movie (if anybody remembers the title, please share). In one scene a wise older black man was talking to his friend (or son or brother). He said something to the effect, “Don’t be so judgmental of white people. If the situation were reversed, that would be us.”

So does it come down to who’s got the raw power? Or is it more about enlightenment? The ability to put yourself in another’s place and apply the Golden Rule, even though it might cost you something. Does it mean any one of us would do anything to preserve our own social standing/reputation? But what if the price is life?

Soldiers—men and women—around the world face these kinds of issues regularly. Check out Demi Moore’s tough performance in the movie GI Jane. The movie Courage Under Fire with Denzel Washington and a surprising Meg Ryan is a powerful story of what a brave female officer went through to defend her right to command—and to protect her men. And here’s a website about women in the military.

Let us pray for all soldiers to be safe, and for days to come when no one will have to make those kinds of choices.

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