This week in Israel, an Arab-Israeli man who had consensual sex with a Jewish Israeli woman was sentenced to 18 months in prison for rape. When the woman found out that he was Arab, and not Jewish as she had assumed, she immediately went to the police and filed a rape case.
Soon, it became undeniable that the sex was consensual. Nevertheless, he was still charged with rape by deception. In other words, lying to get in bed with someone is rape. Better be careful, ladies. The New York nightlife scene is apparently overflowing with rapists.
Men who have ever claimed to be a little bit richer, a little less married, or a dashing astronaut who saves starving children in Africa in his spare time to hop in the sack with someone should watch out for their personal records, too.
Plenty of people have commented on, and expanded upon Israeli policies surrounding miscegenation. Even in liberal Israeli cities (like Tel Aviv) there are police patrolling for inter-racial relationships and hotlines to “save” Jewish women in relationships with Arab men.
Like I said, others have expressed their outrage far more eloquently than I could. Instead, I feel a need to comment on how this makes me feel as a woman.
I am astonished that “rape by deception” can logically be categorized as “rape” without more backlash. Regretting someone you sleep with and being the victim of sexualized aggression are two vastly different things. In one instance, the sexual act is the woman’s (perhaps regretted) responsibility; in the other it is violently forced upon her. The former involves choice and control, the latter does not.
Rape victims are already silenced by circumstances. Whether they are drugged, threatened, petrified, in denial, or their rapist escaped before he could be identified, logistically and emotionally it is difficult to legally address rape. In America alone, 60% of rapes are unreported. Even when a rapist is identified and sentenced, he is typically sentenced for no more than one year.
Claiming that “rape by deception” is “rape” only further silences actual rape victims. Not only does claiming that this man is a rapist saddle him with an undeserved accusation and jail sentence, it detracts attention from actual rape cases, thus impeding rape activism. For a state as supposedly “progressive” and “democratic” as Israel, it’s court has just decided an extremely misogynistic, backwards verdict.