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A game theory take on sexual harassment

https://www.livemint.com/Opinion/utOFEQrsE2XT2QQlsfw9yI/Opinion–A-game-theory-take-on-sexual-harassment.html

 

The issue of sexual harassment is, unfortunately, not a stranger to women in most places around the world. In this opinion post by Anirudh Tagat, they compare the complications involved with harassment by “powerful” men upon women in media, performing arts, and other industries in India to a two-person game using game theory. When we consider an event of sexual harassment to be a game, in which the victim and the offender are players on opposing sides, we can simplify the harm caused by this event. Anirudh Tagat states that the offender in the game has the choice to harass (H) or not harass (NH), whereas the victim has the choices to report (R) or not report (NR). The best case scenario in this game is when the offender chooses NH, and the victim choose NR, where both are neither better or worse after the game. The worst case scenario for the victim is when they choose NR, while the offender chooses H, leading to significant physical and mental harm, while the offender gets away.

I found this post quite interesting, because it not only talks about a topic that is indeed prevalent around the world today, but also uses an interesting method of describing it through game theory. Even though the topic of sexual harassment is hard to quantify, as there are just too many possibilities, by simplifying it down into logical terms, it is not hard for anyone to see how it causes more harm than it will benefit anyone. In this game, no one really gets to win. Instead, it becomes simply a matter of who is losing less. If so, what reason is there to continuously allow these kinds of things to happen in our society? The topics that we cover in class are models that show us how things happen in real life. The best application of these models is to use them to become aware of the issues happening around us, and perhaps one day bring solutions to others.

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