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Monday, 9 August 2010

When is rape actually rape?



I just read the following headline which absolutely baffles me -

Arab guilty of rape after consensual sex with Jew - A man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after telling a woman that he was also Jewish.

A Palestinian man has been convicted of rape after having consensual sex with a woman who had believed him to be a fellow Jew. Sabbar Kashur, 30, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday after the court ruled that he was guilty of rape by deception. According to the complaint filed by the woman with the Jerusalem district court, the two met in downtown Jerusalem in September 2008 where Kashur, an Arab from East Jerusalem, introduced himself as a Jewish bachelor seeking a serious relationship. The two then had consensual sex in a nearby building before Kashur left.

When she later found out that he was not Jewish but an Arab, she filed a criminal complaint for rape and indecent assault. Although Kashur was initially charged with rape and indecent assault, this was changed to a charge of rape by deception as part of a plea bargain arrangement. Handing down the verdict, Tzvi Segal, one of three judges on the case, acknowledged that sex had been consensual but said that although not "a classical rape by force," the woman would not have consented if she had not believed Kashur was Jewish.

It is hard to fathom how a judge could rule in such an arbitrary way. Either rape is unwelcome, forced sex, or it isn't. If a woman decides to give her consent to have sex and later regrets it, that's just too bad. We have all made errors in our decision-making and what would happen if e.g. I voted for George Bush but later decided I'd made mistake? Can I appeal to the same logic and have my vote changed? The obvious answer is no so why on earth can this woman now claim that she would have acted differently had she known the man's true religion and or racial profile. There is a distinct smell of racism here too. Would a Muslim man have been able to do the same thing had he known the woman he had slept with was a Jew?

I think we all know the answer to that one!

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