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Lying to get sex: Is it rape? – Violence Against Women – Salon.com

Posted: July 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments »

An Arab man in Jerusalem who pretended to be Jewish for the duration of wooing a woman into a quick shag now faces 18 months in prison for rape. It's rape, Jerusalem District Court Judge Tzvi Segal said, because, "If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated." Therefore, the precedent in Israel is set: lying to get sex is officially rape. Israeli public defender Elkana Laist said the ruling opens "the door to a rape conviction every time a person lies regarding details of his identity." Don't you just feel all warm and fuzzy inside now?

As Tracy Clark-Flory reports, "U.S. law has expanded to allow for rape by fraud, but interpretations are fairly strict." In other words, only certain lies about one's identity—such as pretending to be someone's spouse—can be considered rape in the US. But in a theocracy like (so many countries in) the Middle East, I guess you're just as married to your religion.

Read brief source…


9 Comments on “Lying to get sex: Is it rape? – Violence Against Women – Salon.com”

  1. 1 maymay said at 4:21 pm on July 23rd, 2010:

    Also, I just want to say, the Judge’s explanation so clearly disenfranchises a woman’s own sexual agency (she wasn’t having sex, she was “cooperating” with sex) that this story totally disgusts me on more levels than I can count.

  2. 2 Maja said at 11:12 am on July 26th, 2010:

    Possible point of debate: Was the Judge’s decision originally in Hebrew and then translated? If so, it might not be apt to jump on the word “cooperated,” because the nuances may be different in the original.

    I can see where the anger is coming from here: this can be viewed as a religiously/racially-motivated decision. And maybe it is! But I think the key part of the decision is here:

    “If she hadn’t thought the accused was […] interested in a serious romantic relationship […]”

    Point being, this woman wouldn’t have consented to NSA sex, and she thought she was consenting to … let’s call it test-drive sex. The intent is different. And true, the way she determines who she might pursue a serious relationship with (and thus, who she would be willing to have sex with) is based on religion/race, but making such decisions is not a crime.

    Does that change this any?

    What if we removed the stigmas from this situation? What if she only dated lawyers and he turned out to be an actor? What if she only dated blondes and it turns out he’s Clairol’s top customer?

  3. 3 Emma said at 11:19 am on July 26th, 2010:

    Hey Maja,

    The translation issue is very interesting. It seems likely to me that the proceedings were originally in Hebrew, and so that’s worth noting. And I do think that it’s worth while to consider whether we’d react as strongly to this if it did not seem to be about race; however, regardless, I don’t think that this can be classified as “rape.” As panelist Brad Hanon so eloquently pointed out, rape is not about making a bad choice, rape is about not having a choice. In this instance, she made a choice and later decided, based on new information, that she would have made a different one. She still made a choice. I’m not saying that the man in question wasn’t misleading – he may well have been. And she may regret her decision and feel hurt and angry and mislead, and all of those things are totally appropriate. What’s inappropriate, in this context, is the charge of rape. That’s a really really serious charge that I simply do not believe fits in this context; and applying it here seems, to me, to lighten the gravity of it in contexts where it does apply.

  4. 4 maymay said at 11:34 am on July 26th, 2010:

    Point being, this woman wouldn’t have consented to NSA sex, and she thought she was consenting to … let’s call it test-drive sex. The intent is different.

    I’m sorry, but what? Maja, you’re seriously way off base here (and possibly letting your own ethnic and religious identity cloud your perception).

    the way she determines who she might pursue a serious relationship with (and thus, who she would be willing to have sex with) is based on religion/race, but making such decisions is not a crime.

    Does that change this any?

    No. Tell us why it should.

    What if she only dated lawyers and he turned out to be an actor?

    Not rape.

    What if she only dated blondes and it turns out he’s Clairol’s top customer?

    Not rape.

    Are you arguing otherwise? If so, I think you’re being inexcusably ridiculous.

  5. 5 Maja said at 11:48 am on July 26th, 2010:

    May, I take that accusation very seriously. Please slow down. I come to this with the same goal as you. The questions I am asking above? Are questions. That I do not know the answers to. Can you please treat them in that spirit?

    To a certain extent, my comment was pretty much reiterating the original post’s title, which I didn’t realize until just now.

    I don’t know Israeli law, and the fact is I don’t know U.S. law on this topic. Emma provided some valuable context in her comment:

    “As panelist Brad Hanon so eloquently pointed out, rape is not about making a bad choice, rape is about not having a choice. In this instance, she made a choice and later decided, based on new information, that she would have made a different one. She still made a choice.”

    My question is, doesn’t the lie manipulate the choice, making the lie relevant?

  6. 6 Emma said at 11:55 am on July 26th, 2010:

    Maja,

    I don’t think anybody is saying that lying to, or even subtly misleading without out-and-out lying (as this gentleman seems to have done) isn’t relevant when it comes to sex. I believe that was stated on the show too, but I’m not totally certain.

    It is relevant. It’s sucky. It’s bad bad behavior, and people shouldn’t do stuff like that.

    But I don’t know if there’s a legal definition for “being a schmuck,” and I don’t know that there should be (actually, I’d go so far as to say there are already lots of laws and getting more legislation about sexual behavior would probably not be a good thing), and if there IS, it’s still not rape.

    Not in America, not in Israel, not anywhere. Which I’m sure you know, and which is of course what May was saying.

    Relevant and rape just aren’t the same.

  7. 7 maymay said at 11:56 am on July 26th, 2010:

    My question is, doesn’t the lie manipulate the choice, making the lie relevant?

    The “lie” is what the legal case is predicated on, which hardly makes it irrelevant. It also doesn’t make the law’s precedent any less stupid.

    As for the details of the law, some notes about it are in the post above, and more are in the brief source, if you’re interested in reading further.

  8. 8 Maja said at 11:58 am on July 26th, 2010:

    I suppose “a bad choice” can be defined as “a choice based on false information” rather than “an unwise/foolish choice,” which was my original reading…? Sort of like “let the buyer beware”?

    If that’s so, then yes, this ruling is bullshit. But I wasn’t aware that was so.

  9. 9 Emma said at 12:05 pm on July 26th, 2010:

    Maja,

    I think that the ruling is bullshit because, regardless, it IS NOT RAPE.

    There may be some other legal precedent bringing charges against someone for sexual misconduct based on their having given you false information, but in this context, where the false information was an assumption she made and, as far as we know, didn’t bother to verify until after the sex had occurred, this isn’t it. We did discuss on the show, there are some situations where we think a choice based on false information would be rape – for instance, if a woman has sex with a man in her darkened bedroom, assuming that man is her husband, only to find his twin brother has snuck in and impersonated him in order to sleep with her. She had every reason to assume that the man in her room, the same size and shape as her husband, WAS her husband, and the brother would clearly have been impersonating somebody in order to have sex.

    But this case isn’t like that. And again, I say, there may be some precedent in Israeli or American law to deal with this, some other sexual misconduct charge, but whatever it it is, it should not be considered rape. Period.