The problem I have with situations such as here with Nancy Lane is there is no reason for this situation to result in an ethical dilemma or “Zero Sum”. I, as well as few others here recommend what can only be labeled as a chivalristic response. Now we are not talking the aristocratic, medieval ethos but more of a modernization of the gentlemanly behavior exhibited of those of the greatest generation without the bigotry or homophobia. With the feminization of our society it is incredibly hard to find the line between “modern” chivalry and misogyny, or at least feminism’s liberal application of the term.
The disparity of messages such as the Violence Against Women Act extension or “War on Women” rhetoric with the push for women in direct combat positions and Hollywood’s presentation of the indestructible female hero who takes on a pack muscular men and beats them down confuses things further. When reality strikes such as the Marine Corps decision to ditch requiring women to do pullups as are required of the men the message that is presented is not an admission that men and women are different but that the requirement itself is stupid and misogynistic. The bottom line is there is a difference between men and women, and men are generally better suited to step in when a woman is under physical threat by a man to provide a counter.
A gun works well as an equalizer too but that is a whole other discussion.
Organizations such as the Boy Scouts, where masculinity and male attributes are focused and given a productive purpose for the benefit of society, provide a useful example of the traits that should be promoted in the male population of society. The idea of not taking action and being a bystander to an injustice or threat against someone is counter to their creed, and this is not misogynistic, but is recognizing a duty to act and that due to biology there is a good chance should the situation result in violence that generally a man will fare better in such then a women.
Taking action does not always mean direct confrontation; many of these situations escalate much farther then what is needed partly due to the target of the aggression being fearful from the start to taking any action that may result angering their tormentor. Having a man recognize the problem and be willing to get involved provides that support and safety the target needs to resolve the issue from the start.
Obviously a woman stepping up and getting involved can provide some of the same benefits but a man is still generally better suited if that aggression shifts to them. So with all that said with Nancy Lane’s dilemma if when all this started, or even when the issues started at work someone decided to get involved, to be a witness to the confrontations and harassment, to take the time to walk her to her car, to be a visible deterrent, demonstrate that she was not alone and helpless, that any direct confrontation would involve more than just her, the risk of taking action against her increases making her a much less attractive target for aggression. It additionally demonstrates positive action to address the situation, making the employer more likely to give the situation time to resolve.
Society has shifted reliance on police, social workers and the like, and those who do not have problems such as Nancy have a gained a false sense of security because they are promoted as the champions of the weak and unfortunate, when in reality they are the cleanup crew. Look at many small towns, generally in areas where personal responsibility and religion are not dirty words, you still see it. The police forces are often small and unobtrusive, not due to lack means but lack of need. Many of those communities “police” their own, not vigilantism, they get involved immediately when problems arise, reducing severity and alleviating the need for officer involvement. They identify bad behavior and are willing to call it out, woman and men, woman don’t have to fear confronting a man about bad behavior, they know if things escalate another man will step in, not because the man stepping in hates women or he thinks he is a superior human being but because generally biology favors men with strength and this has been recognized throughout the ages and reflected through chivalry. Even a man who targets women with his aggression usually can recognize this fact of biology and it often is enough to deter that aggressor. This is not an unerring solution, but it is not one which should be shunned and demeaned but promoted.