Published April 25, 2022 by Nan Mykel

THE SITUATION:  Mary and her husband live on the south bank of a river. Her husband wants her to stay at home and not cross the river to the town. She wants to go to town.

There is a bridge across the river, but men have been robbing and killing people who cross the bridge, and Mary’s husband won’t give her money for the ferry.

Mary begins saving money out of the grocery money and begins crossing the river to town on the ferry while her husband is away. Finally, she meets a man in town and takes him as a lover.  She crossses the river more frequently and he gives her money to get back home.

He gets mad at her one day and refuses to give her the return fare  home.  She asks the ferryman to let her charge the return trip but he refuses, saying it is against company policy.  Finally, she crosses the bridge and is killed.  The discussion question is, Whose fault is it that Mary was killed?

The scenario was presented to 25 men in a  prison Level I sex offender education class.  Read the scenario’s description and reach your own conclusion before  reading  below:

Results are as follows: Fifteen men felt it was Mary’s own fault.  One man added that “she should have stayed home.”  Nine men felt it was the husband’s fault.  One thought it was the lover’s fault, and ONE decided the fault was with the man who killed her–in other words, the person responsible for the killing was the killer.



  • Mary and her hubby obviously had problems, and Mary was wrong to take on a lover while still married, but that doesn’t make either one of them responsible for her murder. Mary & hubby could both have done many things to prevent the outcome, but the person who wielded the knife or gun is the killer, is the one responsible for the killing.


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