An Old Bible Story Provides a Relevant Lesson About Rape and Belated Remorse
In the 24th chapter of the book of Genesis, there’s a very sad story that shows how one foolish action can lead to a greater tragedy.
A young woman in the prime of her life, Jacob’s daughter, went out to see her friends; she was minding her on business. The problem was that a young man who lacked who lacked self-control and liked shortcuts took a fancy to innocent Dinah. Shechem was his name and instead of going the route that honourable young men do when they like a girl, he decided to rape Dinah. It was going to turn out be a big mistake.
Well, Shechem decided that one forceful encounter wouldn’t satisfy him; he wanted Dinah in his life and decided that he needed her for a wife. In my mind, he probably needed to marry her because she wouldn’t always be available to be raped. Now, while Dinah had barely come to terms with the trauma of her violation, Shechem and his dad came along, acting out some classic tips from the R&B playbook. They wanted everything sorted out and forgotten; Shechem loved Dinah and he wanted to marry her.
For those who pay attention, rape is mainly about power and this is played out in this story. Shechem’s dad was a “big” man with wealth and power while Dinah’s dad was prosperous but he was sort of a stranger in that land; he was outnumbered. They came to ask for her hand in marriage with a greater confidence that it would be accepted than rejected. It was the politically wise thing to do and it would have sailed through but for one or two glitches.
You see, Dinah’s had two brothers who cared about her enough not to accept any political solutions plus they were kind of crazy. They played a trick on Shechem and his whole and seized the opportunity to exert vengeance. They killed the offender, his father and all the other men of his nation. They plundered their goods and took the women and children captive. You might say they were too harsh but all of it really happened because of a man who thought he could misbehave and apologize later.
Now this is the lesson to all subscribers to the R&B philosophy – you are playing with fire because you may never know what will happen afterwards. And that is how it should be. If you choose to inflict unexpected pain on an innocent person, everything that comes afterward may be fair game.
In case you’re wondering what R&B means here, it means Rape and Beg. Apparently, there are people who have practiced this and many others who find it acceptable. The idea is to take advantage of a person sexually, particularly someone who might trust them enough never to expect it, and then apologise afterwards. The excuses range from being in love (like Shechem), thinking the victim too was interested, the devil and being in the same room with the victim.
Be warned, rape is unacceptable and apologizing after the fact is not a good strategy. If you do not get explicitly expressed consent with anyone, don’t try to sleep with them. If you do, don’t complain when you have to face the music.
When Jacob bemoaned the consequences that his sons’ actions would have on their social, political and economic life, they responded with a question that is still as instructive today – “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?” (Gen 34: 31 NIV)