A discussion where I criticized all the ridicule and maliciousness that was dumped on the victims of the fake breast-examining doctor case. As if he presented himself as some pervert and the women simply did not suspect anything because they were “stupid.”

My comments on someone’s blog:

Obviously, that’s not how he goes about it. It’s not too hard to imagine how an old guy could come up with a whole act that he is part of the Department of Community Health, they are doing a cancer education program, says he is a doctor, and that he wants to talk to her about prevention, he blabbers, later, he offers to do a cancer screening exam, etc etc. I could see some women getting tricked by it.

Which were answered by:

Tricked? Nope. This falls clearly in the category of “stupid.”

Alessandra wrote:

Totally disagree. No one ever deserves to get molested because they were naive. The assumption that these women wanted to be sexually assaulted is what is disgusting.

People lie all the time about very serious issues and others around them can are easily tricked.

There are people who are very good impersonators, and some are even involved in serious crimes.

People’s ability to be suspicious also has to do past experience/knowledge and their educationa/cultural level.

This is another example where lack of knowledge in psychology makes people blame the victims, not to mention the nasty ridicule.


Any twit with a half of brain would know that a physician will never do door-to-door breast exams. You aren’t talking naivete here, these are women who are just plain stupid and they are so stupid it is insulting to the rest of us. They aren’t too young, they aren’t feeble minded with age, and they should be more worldly at those ages; they have been to a physician before, I would think, and should understand the ropes. You can’t excuse their stupidity without recognizing that this is exactly what it is… stupidity.

Alessandra wrote:

The fact that they were naive does not take away their personal responsibility.

What is “stupid?” Are you suggesting they had mental retardation? Have you not heard of the tens of thousands different scams that humans have successfully invented as they pass off as someone or other ? Many work based on psychological manipulation.People’s minds go far beyond their intellectual abilities and this is where psychology comes in, and quite often completely overrides rationality.

People aren’t born with knowledge or the capacity to know everything and to suspect correctly everything, you must be completely snotty to think if someone somewhere hasn’t acquired the same knowledge you have, it is because of a low IQ.


Alessandra you just contradicted your point by saying: “The fact that they were naive does not take away their personal responsibility.”

Alessandra wrote (after searching and finding more tidbits of information that show that my initial assumptions were right on target!):

Only if you mistake what I wrote for implying that no one should ever have any responsibility over anything – which is a big incorrect distortion. Or that naiveness equates to no one having to have personal responsibility. Another incorrect distortion. Or that only people who didn’t fall for the scam have personal responsibility. Either you didn’t understand what I wrote or you jumped to very mistaken conclusions about it.

Take the typical scams where someone pretends to be an agent that needs to process a certain fee and asks for the target’s bank account information. Depending on how the scam person presents themselves, they can succeed in posing as some official agent and getting illegally the information they seek.

This does not mean any person who is contacted by such a scam artist has no responsibility over their financial information. Everyone has personal responsibility always. But if the way you decode the situation is not enough or is not appropriate for you to perceive the situation as a scam, you will be tricked. And factual information is only one component, other psychological dynamics can even completely override data, which is how we respond to people on a psychological level.

This means that you still are responsible for trying to advert any scam, but your ability to do so can be impaired based on lack of factual data and psychological dynamics. So, if a person didn’t choose to be tricked, and was tricked, even though they still have personal responsibility over their lives, to blame them is to blame the victim.

re this case, I found this: “Authorities believe he targeted women who don’t speak English well and women who don’t have health insurance.”

What does this tell you? He was going exactly for women who would have trouble figuring out it was a scam. Women who don’t speak much English could certainly have a much lower awareness level compared to educated people about how doctors behave in the US, or compared to many Americans who are quite familiar with the behavior of the medical community; such women could be easily fooled, they might have not that much schooling, and this information that lots of bloggers believe every woman is born with was just not there for them.

Same for women with no health insurance, who could be poor, not that educated, and lack the necessary info to know that a hospital wouldn’t send a doctor door-to-door like that – which is what I read his line was.

It’s sad to see how the media (and the blogosphere specially) just made one big tawdry joke of the victims. And it’s particularly cretinous the action of totally blaming the victims, as if doing this showed intelligence.