Deut. 22:28; "they are discovered"

Xsmkandelx at Xsmkandelx at
Sun Aug 13 01:20:31 EDT 2000

 ark Wilson writes:

Finally, if there were no "witnesses" to an actual rape, what recourse did 
the victim have? >>

If there were no "witnesses" to the rape, the victim had little recourse 
except through her male relatives. As is illustrated by Deut. 22:29, rape was 
considered an act which violated the male's property rights rather than an 
act of violence committed against a woman. As such, the male relatives of the 
victim sought revenge or recourse, through either  receiving a sum of money 
from the rapist or by marrying the victim to her attacker in order to 
mitigate the financial loss they would endure by not being able to marry her 
off for a significant bride-price (since she's now "damaged goods").  

Your impression that "witnesses" must be present in order to define a rape is 
close, though not wholly accurate. For instance, in the story of Dinah in 
Gen. 34 we're told that Dinah is wandering through the fields of the land 
when Shechem forces himself upon her. Although there are no witnesses during 
the actual act (aside from the parties involved) it is clear from her 
brothers' reactions that the rape was considered rape. (Of course some 
scholars, such as Lyn Bechtel, would argue that Dinah wasn't raped... but I 
won't go into what I think of that). 

I don't know if that answers your questions, or raises more, but just thought 
I'd share my $.02.


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