Rape by deception: implicit deception about race

An adult man who had consensual sex with an adult woman was jailed to 18 months in prison because of rape by deception (in Israel, story here). The man, a Palestinian Arab from East Jerusalem had led the woman to believe he was a Jew. There is some controversy about whether he actually actively told her so, or just didn’t correct her belief about his origins (see here).

According to the judges, the woman would never have had sex with him if she had doubted he was a Jew looking for a long term relationship, and therefore the verdict is rape by deception.

I see so many problems here, I don’t know where to begin.

Update: the story as reported by the BBC.

79 thoughts on “Rape by deception: implicit deception about race

  1. “Judge Tzvi Segal explained:

    “The court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price – ***the sanctity of their bodies and souls.***”” (emphasis mine)

    Ho-ly shit. That is heavy duty racism–insinuating that sleeping with an Arab will muddy your soul.

    Also, this is a good example of how complicated oppression can get when race, gender, nationality, and religion all collide. Normally I would argue against brushing off a rape accusation, but since the “violation” is about pretending to be a different ethnicity/race, its more about a judicial system infantalizing women by feeling the need to protect them from ‘unclean’ Arabs who would lie to them.

    Also, does anyone here know if there’s an important difference for this story in contrasting Jews against Arabs or against Muslims? I know you often can’t pull apart the religion of Judaism from the ethnicity of Jewish, but certainly not all Arabs are considered Muslim, right? In Israel is there an acknowledged difference between the two or do a lot of people consider them to be one and the same camp? (And if I said anything ignorant here let me know.)

  2. There is a “rape by fraud” or “rape by deception” line of legal cases in the US, but the ones I’m familiar with involve a man pretending to be the woman’s husband or boyfriend. This is a very different kind of situation, and I agree with the comment that if the religions were reversed they would never have convicted on it.

  3. There are some other circumstances where it’s used in the US, though the one I discussed is the most popular in law school discussions for arcane reasons which are probably relevant only to legal scholars. Here’s a more complete treatment of the subject:

    Click to access Rape%20by%20Fraud.pdf

  4. “Also, does anyone here know if there’s an important difference for this story in contrasting Jews against Arabs or against Muslims? I know you often can’t pull apart the religion of Judaism from the ethnicity of Jewish, but certainly not all Arabs are considered Muslim, right? In Israel is there an acknowledged difference between the two or do a lot of people consider them to be one and the same camp? (And if I said anything ignorant here let me know.)”

    I think it has more to do with the Israel / Palestine issues than religion specifically. To be honest at first I just thought of this as another rape case; of course the woman was raped. We don’t question that, in the kinds of discourse we engage. But the racism inherent in the issue–if he was a non-Jew in Jerusalem–means that any privilege the man had over the woman is hugely questionable and it likely has a lot more to do with national sovereignty than bodily sovereignty. Which is a mucked-up mess.

  5. Oh, c’mon. This is just plain seduction–not rape–and the ethnic component should be irrelevant. When it comes to seduction, caveat emptor is the rule for both men and women (and boys and girls).

    “According to the judges, the woman would never have had sex with him if she had doubted he was a Jew looking for a long term relationship, and therefore the verdict is rape by deception.”

    “Looking for a long term relationship” is what’s operative here–not whether or not this guy was passing as a Jew. It is simply insulting to women to suggest that, as a group, we’re so dumb and naive that we have to be protected from slick operators who promise long-term relationships when they’re looking for casual sex–and to prosecute this kind of seduction routine as rape. Sheesh!

  6. Is it racism if the woman would only marry another Jew, based on her religious practices and beliefs? If she would have reacted the same way if the man turned out to be a Christian? I am curious as to what people think about this.

    Here is some background on Jewish marriage practices: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_on_marriage

  7. Frankly I am surprised to see substantial support here against this rape accusation. Whatever the line was that the guy used to get her to agree to sex, this doesn’t make it right. If in this case he pretended to be Jewish, or allowed her to sustain her incorrect belief that he is Jewish, (undoubtedly knowing she wouldn’t have sex otherwise), this doesn’t make using deception to get sex right! The relevant issue from a feminist standpoint is whether the guy was misrepresenting himself (on whatever grounds) because he knew she wouldn’t go for the sex if he were truthful. It doesn’t matter that this woman preferred to only have sex with a Jewish man. This doesn’t somehow invalidate the fact that she was deceived in order to agree to agree to sex with this guy.

    If a black woman preferred to only have sex with black men, would anyone be calling her a racist?? I hardly think so.

    Justanotherfemalephilosopher, it is not racism when people express a preference to marry someone from the same background or religion. This doesn’t seem to involve discrimination but is instead based on expectations that the family would share certain cultural traditions or raise children in a certain way, celebrating the same holidays, etc.

    To address some questions posed by the first poster, people whose background is Jewish, or who have the cultural identity of Jewish, can be Buddhists, for example. And Arabs, whether or not they are living in Israel and are citizens of Israel, can be either Muslims, or Christians, or for that matter Buddhists if they please. The residents of Israel are well aware that Arabs are not always Muslims. There are even Jews from Arab countries, for example Egyptian Jews, etc.

  8. I am inclined to see this as a case of rape. To deceive someone to get them to do something that they would not do otherwise is coercion. When this coercion is used sexually, it is an example of rape, albeit nonviolent. If the man did indeed lie about his race/religion, then he is guilty of rape. I would say the same of every case where one partner pretends to be interested in a longterm relationship, displays false interest or care, falsely evinces certain political or ethical positions (“Did I mention that I’m into feminism?”), or deceives as regards behavior, intelligence, or wealth, etc.

    It is entirely possible that the man was not aware of the woman’s prejudices, and so did not intend to deceive her. In fact, it demonstrates why it is often impractical to legally prosecute any rapes of this category. That should not stop us from ethically disparaging and socially stigmatizing such acts.

    I don’t mean to put words into people’s mouths, but denials that this woman was raped seem to fall into the category of “she deserved it”. Her racial criteria for sexual partners is indeed repugnant, though not uncommon, and there is a hint of poetic justice in its being thwarted. The same might be said of an analogous situation in which one greedy partner becomes involved with another person who has put on the ruse of being wealthy in order to attract sexual attention. In both of these cases, however, having poor, even ethically repugnant, criteria for choosing sexual partners does not make one less of a person, nor more deserving of sexual coercion.

  9. philosopher queen:

    I don’t think anyone here would deny that what he did was wrong. The question is whether and under which circumstances deceiving someone in order to bed them is rape. I have no idea how such a question would be settled.

    On a separate note, I think jews from arab countries are not generally referred to in israel as arabs, even if they’re physically indistinguishable.

  10. Alas, philosopher queen preempted many of my points while I was still composing.

    I would argue that such biases, no matter how far spread and endemic ARE racist, even if few among us can un-hypocritically condemn them. I’m afraid I can’t, at least.

    What is particularly shocking about the woman’s criteria is it’s explicitness, as most of us hold such criteria only implicitly. This, however, as I already said, does not justify rape.

  11. According to one version of the story I read, they went to go have sex within minutes of first meeting. They met in a Jewish area. I’m unclear as to whether or not the man was aware that the woman thought he was Jewish, or if she assumed that given where they met. Does anyone have more information on that?

  12. There seem to be conflicting accounts.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7901025/Palestinian-jailed-for-rape-after-claiming-to-be-Jewish.html says he introduced himself as Daniel (his name is Sabbar Kashur).
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10717186 has him claiming he introduced himself as Dudu and that it’s a nickname used by friends and family.

    As far as the broader issue of sex through deception
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i3DzC0m0snyehBQmZFencI3hJM6w says “The newspaper noted that the Israeli High Court set a precedent for the charge of rape by deception in 2008 when it rejected an appeal against a rape conviction by a man who impersonated an housing ministry official, promising women he would get them an apartment if they slept with him.”
    The BBC article says “There is a precedent in Israel for criminal charges being brought in such cases. One man who told women he slept with he was a neurosurgeon in order to impress them was convicted of fraud.”

  13. Jeremy, well said, particularly with respect to coercion, and also with respect to your point that denials that this is rape (I would add that dismissals of this case as trivial or unworthy of examination) fall into the category of “she deserved it.”

    If a person has repugnant beliefs, this doesn’t make it okay that they are raped.

    If someone is dressed very provactively, does this make it okay for them to be raped? Hardly. If someone is dressed as a pole dancer, or a prostitute, they can still be raped. We’ve come a long way, baby . . . haven’t we? Well maybe not if it’s 2010 and we still need to talk about these kinds of basic points surrounding rape and blaming the victim . . . on a feminist philosophers website to boot.

    Anonymous, yes people do seem to deny, or dismiss/ignore the idea that what he allegedly did was wrong.

    Deceiving someone in order to get them to have sex with you when they otherwise would not do so is coercive (well put by Jeremy).

    I did not say that people living in Israel would call Egyptian Jews, etc. Arabs. They might possibly call them Arab Jews though. Jews from Arab countries, and African countries, are called Sephardic Jews. Their traditions are very similar to Arab traditions.

    The quote from Judge Segal that the victim’s sanctity of body and soul was violated does not sound racist. The Judge seems to be talking about the rape being a violation of the sanctity of one’s body and soul. That is normally the way rape is spoken about, as a wrongful trampling of one’s autonomy. If someone is raped it is seen as a true violation of the person, of their rights to autonomy over their own body. Hence this kind of sanctity of body and soul language.

  14. Having asked my questions and gotten answers on both sides, I’ll say what I think. I agree with philosopherqueen that preference for having sex with (or a relationship with) only people of a certain religion or race or whatever isn’t necessarily racism. It could be, as she said, that one wants a family that would share “cultural traditions or raise children in a certain way, celebrating the same holidays, etc.” To assume that this woman is racist is itself to assume quite a bit about her views about Arabs — dare I say those assumptions might themselves be anti-Semitic. As I suggested above, she might well feel the same way about a relationship with a Christian person without having any biases against Christians.

    Having said that, I have a hard time seeing this as a case of rape. That does NOT mean that she deserved it! It means that I think that some who is physically forced to having sex against her will suffers more than someone who is deceived into having sex, even though both suffer. What he did was coercive and wrong, yes, but I still don’t see it as rape.

  15. philosopher queen:
    Sorry for misinterpreting what you’d written.

    thanks for that link to the law review. I only glanced at parts of it, but it seems very relevant (though of course israel has its own laws and legal precedents).

  16. Frankly, I believe that to call this rape is an affront to people who have been raped.

  17. I’d like to ask about the more general issue of rape by deception. It does seem clearly *wrong* to get someone to have sex with you by lying, but lots of things are wrong without being crimes, and lots of sexual things might be wrong without being rape. Consider the case about someone who pretends to have a more secure job than they do, or who lies about their age in order to get sex. I wouldn’t want to call those cases rape, even though I would see something wrong with them. What do others think?

  18. Man lies to get sex. How novel. Does this mean that every married man who meets a woman in a bar and doesn’t admit to being married is liable to be charged as a rapist?

  19. @Anonymous: Right. I was presenting it to show what is done in the US along similar lines, as a contrast to the Israeli law. US courts wouldn’t convict someone of rape for lying about having a good job, either.

    @Hippocampa: I completely agree.

    @Jender: I believe that what he did is likely wrong (I say “likely” because I can’t trust the media reports, haven’t seen the trial transcript and don’t know what he actually said). However, I don’t think that lying to someone in this context should rise to the level of criminal imprisonment. And I certainly don’t think it’s rape, which is an extremely serious crime.

    (There are contexts where lying can be a felony, but in such cases the person is either on notice that a lie is criminal, or it is very clear that a lie will cause serious injury or death.)

  20. I think it would be useful if people who voice an opinion on whether or not this is rape to also say whether they think rape can be defined and if so what its definition is. On the other hand, if they don’t think a definition can be given, but rather it should be decided on whether their intuition is that it is or isn’t rape, that should be made explicit. (Or if their view is something else, of course.)

    The argument presented above is that getting someone to do something through deception is a form of coercion, and that coercing someone to have sex is rape. To oppose it, one would have to deny one of the premises. Also, your opinions on the two cases I mentioned in quotes above (pretending to work at the housing ministry and promising an apartment, and claiming to be a neurosurgeon) would be useful for comparison.

    There are several intertwined issues here, so it’s best to try to tease out what one’s views rely on.

  21. I think the charges of rape by deception in Israel were first introduced in this case, not the guy who pretended to be a surgeon:

    I have to admit I’m uncomfortable with the concept of “rape by deception”. I’d agree with hippocampa on that point.

    I would further ad that currently Israel is a very racist state, where Arabs get worse sentences for the same crimes and the whole public atmosphere is very aggressive to all strangers. It is a point against the court’s decision, but I think it might make the woman’s accusation more understandable.
    By sleeping with an Arab she went not only against her sensibilities, repugnant they may be, but against the “Jewish-Israeli collective mind” (for lack of a better word).
    Do I think living in a racist/misogynist/xenophobic society redeems the individual racist/misogyny/xenophobe? To some extant at least, I think it does.

  22. @Anonymous The problem with the argument is that it equivocates on the use of ‘coersion’

    The first, that getting someone to do something through deception is a form of coercion, uses coersion in a weak sense. If I get my child to be on her best behavior because Santa Claus will give her presents, according to this premise I have used a form of coercion.

    The second premise uses a strong sense of coercion. Obviously if a rapist were to point a gun at the victims head, she would be using coercion. But if a situation involved a minor lie – say, one party telling a tall tail about a fishing trip – then coercion was not used. This is apparent when you consider what would happen if -both- parties told lies.

    So I can accept both premises but deny the conclusion on the grounds that the argument, as presented, is not valid. Now, a better argument could be made that made the first premise something like “Lying or misleading another about one’s race to gain something is coercion in the strong sense.” That seems a lot less plausible.

  23. There is no equivocation in my use of “coercion”, as I meant the term to encompass both the strong and weak sense. It seems that we differ in our definition of rape, as you seem to believe that only strongly coercive sex (violence or threat of violence?) is rape.

    While your definition captures the traditionally defined, and likely most harmful variety of rape, it leaves out large swathes of acts that I believe are due to be classified along with violent rape. Consider the following cases:

    There is rape by deception, as J-Bro cited above, in which one person pretends to be another in order to have sex. While there is no force, or strong coercion, as you would put it, occurring in this case, it is hard to deny that it is indeed rape.

    Or consider statutory rape. In such cases there is no overt force involved, but the relationship is deemed to be coercive due to the fact that the partners are so unequal. I would argue that this argument applies equally to all cases in which a large difference in power/authority is exploited to sexual ends. Most cases of relationships between employer and employee, or teacher and student would fit into this category, even when there is no explicit or implicit promise of reward or punishment. This is also the very least that can be said of Thomas Jeffeson’s sexual relations with his slave Sally Hemings. I would even go so far as to say that the use of a prestigious position to gain sexual attention would possibly fit in this category, such as JFK, Clinton, and doubtless other US Presidents have used that position.

    There are also cases of rape in which non-violent incentives are employed. This can be divided into two classes, negative and positive. In the negative case, the receipt of a reward that is deserved, or the escape of a punishment that is undeserved, is tied to granting of sexual favors. For example, a corrupt bureaucrat who refuses to dispense a legally due and necessary benefit, or a professor who threatens to fail a student. These are, I would argue, uncontroversially rape. The converse positive case, in which it is offered to grant an undue reward, or avert a due punishment, is less accepted. This includes a professor who promises to pass a failing student, or a police officer who promises to look the other way. It also includes sex work. It is hard to argue, however, that this form of coercion is distinct from the negative case, especially when we consider dire conditions such as poverty.

    Here is a graphical representation of my classification of sexual coercion. http://i513.photobucket.com/albums/t332/JeremyChristopherS/ClassifyingCoerciveSexualActivity.png

    My argument is that the only characteristic shared by all of the various acts considered to be rape is that they are coercive. Further, if we accept this as the defining characteristic of rape, we must also accept the other acts on the chart as rape, including lying about one’s ethnicity/religion if one knows that is sexually relevant to one’s partner.

    To those who would object that my classification scheme is infantilizing to women, I would rebut that the scheme is sex-neutral, though it is a sad fact of our culture that it is more relevant to women than to men (currently, not necessarily). To those who object that it is offensive to victims of forcible rape to call these other acts rape, I respond that to put the acts into a like category (rape) need not necessarily equate the trauma caused by the acts. Rape is a continuum, from the very serious, such as cases of physical violence, to the relatively minor, such as the unavoidable power differential present in every heterosexual relationship in our society, instilled by the prevailing patriarchy, even in individuals who actively combat this. The judges in this case seem to have acknowledged this, as the man was sentenced to only 18 months, which I must assume is less than would be given for a conviction of violent rape.

  24. Imagine that a woman meets a man and she is attracted to him. As they get to know one another, she lies to this man about the extent of her sexual past (she had been a sex worker when she was young, and knows that this man holds conservative views on this specific topic, and so she keeps this part of her past a secret from him), and has over a period of time a sexual relationship with him. Later, he learns about her past and feels betrayed. Would we say that the woman should be convicted of RAPE and sentenced to a term in prison? If not, how is deceiving a sexual partner about certain aspects of one’s life, such as past sexual activity, different than deceiving someone about ethnic heritage? Should anyone who has ever in any way misrepresented themselves in any way to a sexual partner be convicted of RAPE? Many women and men that I know have at points been deceptive about aspects of their lives with their sexual partners — I think there are ethical issues involved here for discussion, but do not believe in any sense that these behaviors even remotely approach rape, and feel this conviction and those who are defending it are behaving in a way incredibly offensive to rape victims.

    If a man cheats on his wife and keeps his affair secret, and continues to have sex with his wife during the period of infidelity, even if it might be understood that she would not have sex with him if aware of his other activities, would we say he should be convicted of RAPE and sent to prison?

    I’m very surprised and disappointed by some of the comments I am reading here, purportedly by “feminists”, that at least appear to be defending this conviction, a conviction which absolutely could only occur in this way in a state dominated by hardline institutional racism such as Israel. I’m just very saddened by some of the comments I see here.

  25. Hester:

    What about the precedents in Israel in which race wasn’t a factor?
    (see comment #12)

    Israel certainly does have institutionalized discrimination. But the concept of “rape by deception” is broader than this particular case.

  26. Also, with regard to being an affront or being offensive to rape victims, you have to realize that not too long ago the concepts of date rape and statutory rape would have been considered an affront to victims of “real rape”.

  27. Anonymous, the precedent mentioned in comment 12 seems a bit more complicated — the man posed as a powerful official and was actively promising women access to housing in exchange for sex. Can we see this as different?

    How do you feel about the first scenario I laid out? Do you believe that the woman in that scenario should be considered a rapist? We could frame it in other ways. Maybe the woman kept secret an incident of group sex she participated in while in college. Or maybe she lied to her partner about the number of sexual partners she had through her life, or the age at which she lost her virginity. If a woman is deceptive to a partner in any way at all about any aspect of her sexual past, is she a rapist?

    To reverse genders in the second scenario, for effect:
    If a woman cheats on her husband and keeps her affair secret, and continues to have sex with her husband during the period of infidelity, even if it might be understood that he would not have sex with her if aware of her other activities, would we say she should be convicted of RAPE and sent to prison?

  28. I also need to note, as someone living here right now, that there is a pretty powerful stigma by Arabs that Jewish women are automatically “loose” and slutty and they are treated as such. What this guy did was lie so that he could get one such woman to give him temporary sexual satisfaction by using a lie he knew would work. And ultimately what he did, even if it wasn’t rape, was extraordinarily predatory.

    It’s clear that this woman feels violated, and far be it from me to try and tell someone who does feel as if they were abused in some way that what happened to them was perfectly okay. Obviously this woman feels the weight of some tremendous social pressure on her regardless of her own individual feelings about the encounter, and it must be incredibly upsetting.

    Certainly the conviction is racist, and the law had no business getting involved, but that doesn’t mean that nothing terrible happened to her and she’s just being frivolous by complaining or something.

  29. Jerry:

    There seems to be a misunderstanding. While violent coercion, such as the pointing of a gun, is undoubtedly rape, I did not mean to imply that it was the only form of what I called “strong” coercion. In fact, I intentionally left open what exactly belongs to strong coercion, and what exactly belongs to weak coercion. I meant only to claim that there is at least one instance of coercion (‘coercion’ in the widest sense), the use of which does not constitute rape.

    If a successful deception is said to be coercion, then (so my argument runs) we’re led to an absurdity. There are, of course, many examples in which a deception can play a role in rape, i.e. posing as someone’s husband. But there are just as clearly examples in which a deception is irrelevant to rape. That was what my example of the fishing story was supposed to show.

    Two people meet at a bar and one tells a (false) story about how she caught a huge fish in the Atlantic Ocean. The listener is so charmed with the story that the seduction is successful, and the two sleep together (a hokey example, maybe). Surely the deceiver did not commit rape. But according to your line of reasoning, she has.

    Of course the argument you gave had plausibility. I tried to justify the plausibility by suggesting two different versions of coercion. Otherwise, I think we would have to outright reject premise 2, that coercing someone into sex is rape.

  30. Hester:

    I’m not claiming it is rape. I don’t believe rape (or any other concept) is a natural kind, and I don’t think the concept of rape is particularly well-defined. I mentioned in an earlier post I have no idea what kind of procedure could be used to decide what is or is not rape.

    My point is that this is being dismissed too quickly. Now, of course it’s different when you pose as a housing ministry official and promise an apartment. The question is whether it’s _relevantly_ different, and why? The man who posed as an official wasn’t convicted for extortion, fraud, posing as a public official, or breach of contract, he was convicted for rape, even though the sex was consensual in the sense that she agreed to it.

    Again, I’m not making claims about what is or is not rape. I’m just saying that when such claims are being made it’s a good idea to establish clear criteria and consider their implications. And when cases are thought to be different, it should be explained why. I think (though maybe I’m wrong) all of this is pretty standard in discussions of law or ethics.

  31. Zari: If a woman whose mother was a slave, who was part-black but of such light complexion that she was able to “pass as white”, living around 1890 in the United States during a period of intense racism, lied about her personal ancestry and married a white man belonging to an economic class above her, how would we feel about her behavior? There are issues to discuss, but I’m not completely sure I’d describe that as “terrible” or even “predatory.” (My initial thought even tends toward: “Good for her.”) It’s possible that living in the United States skews my interpretation of things as everyone here understands that some level of deception or secret-keeping is, if problematic, still incredibly common in sexual relationships.

    I do not see how “lying about race” is more problematic than lying about other things.

    To put it another way, Zari,
    what if race were no issue here at all, and the man simply pretended he was interested in a long-term relationship, when he had no such interest, in order to have sex with a woman? Or what if a woman acted the same way towards a man? This happens a lot. On some abstract level surely that’s “predatory,” but it typifies such a high proportion of consensual sex acts in modern societies that to even act at all like it’s an issue that could plausibly warrant a prison sentence, or even legitimate discussion of legal consequences, strikes me as absurd.

    Maybe ultimately the question to ask here is: what amount of information does anyone have the “right” to know about a sexual partner? What sort of secrets are ok to keep? What sort of secrets, if kept, amount to “predatory” behavior? How does the right to personal privacy weigh vs. traditional demands for openness made within sexual intimacy?

  32. Anonymous, you raise a valid issue. I’d see the case of the individual posing as a housing official as different, because he was actively promising some tangible material good in exchange for sex, and systematically making this promise to many women. The deception was not merely a case of exaggerating his identity, but involved something much deeper and more exploitative. If he had merely pretended to be a housing official in order to project some fake prestige to make himself more socially appealing, this would seem more in line with an Arab man pretending to be a Jew.

    If an unemployed man pretends to be a corporate executive and convinces a woman to have sex with him by promising that if she does he will hire her for a job, this is different than if the man simply pretends to be a corporate executive to seem socially impressive to a woman he is talking to at a bar with no promise of a job made. Even in the former case, I believe it’s complicated enough that asserting “rape by deception” occurred is somewhat problematic (as compared to cases where “rape by deception” is obvious, as in a man actually under whatever unusual circumstances able to fool a woman into believing he is actually another man such as her wife or boyfriend).

  33. Hester:

    Whether it’s one woman or many is entirely irrelevant: if the individual act isn’t rape, it’s not made rape by being repeated. It’s like saying “this act isn’t theft, but if you did it to ten people it would be”. And how is it more exploitative to promise a material benefit than to lie about your job, when in both cases the intent is to bed someone one couldn’t bed otherwise? How is it more exploitative to pretend to be another person (e.g. the boyfriend) than to pretend to be another person (e.g. a fictional corporate executive).

    Also, to say that something is common doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be illegal or carry a prison term. Spousal rape must have been exceedingly common until quite recently, as was wifebeating. Also, that people know used car dealers tend to be dishonest doesn’t mean they’re immune from fraud charges.

    Again, my point is that a lot more work needs to be done if one is to justify dismissing some cases of rape by deception but not others.

  34. Anonymous, do you see a difference between, on the one hand, a man who pretends to be a housing official and promises a woman access to housing in order to have sex with her, and, on the other hand, a woman who lies to a partner and says she lost her virginity at age 17 instead of age 13 in order to not seem like as much of a “slut” to a guy she really likes? Do you believe either the man in the first scenario, or the woman in the second scenario, should be regarded as a “rapist”? Do you believe a prison sentence is warranted for the woman in the second scenario?

    It appears obvious to me that it’s more exploitative to promise a desperate person something material in exchange for sex when one has no ability to deliver on that promise, than merely to lie about having a job for social reasons. The fact that in both cases the motive for lying might be identical doesn’t change the fact that there is a different impact on a person’s life depending on what sort of lie he or she was told. I’m not sure either case should be considered “rape,” but in the first case I’m at least able to take seriously the notion that a crime may have been committed.

  35. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not making claims about what is or is not rape. Nor am I making claims about what would or would not warrant a prison sentence. I’m not saying all these cases are the same. What I’m saying is that no one here has yet offered a satisfactory justification, whereas plenty of people have presented their views as if they were obvious and unproblematic.

    But, no, I don’t think there’s a significant difference in impact on a person’s life between the two cases. The person who was promised housing ended up exactly where she was before except that she had sex due to deception for purely selfish reasons. The one who is lied to about the man’s job also ends up exactly where she was before except she had sex due to deception for purely selfish reasons. Both of them are likely to feel exploited, maybe even violated. The only difference is regarding what each of them had their hopes raised about.

    Anyway, I’m calling it quits. Peace out.

  36. I normally only sleep with women who are Man United supporters. One night I met a woman; let’s call her Mary who assured me she was a Man United supporter. We went to her flat and had sex. Next morning, I found a Chelsea football scarf in her wardrobe.

    I’m shallow, certainly, and what am I doing poking into her wardrobe, but that’s not the point. Can anybody please tell me why, if Sabbar Kashur can be guilty of rape by deception, Mary isn’t likewise guilty of rape?

    Is it one law for men and one for women?

    PS. Am I a rapist for making up the above story?

  37. You hit it right on the head, Justanotherfemalephilosopher, when you said, “To assume that this woman is racist is itself to assume quite a bit about her views about Arabs — dare I say those assumptions might themselves be anti-Semitic. ”

    Anon said, “currently Israel is a very racist state, where Arabs get worse sentences for the same crimes…” To focus on Israel as a racist state, in this context, when the Arab countries are blatantly worse, seems strange. In the US people of color, specifically blacks for example, get worse sentences for the same crimes compared with whites, and poor or lower income people are generally quite badly off compared to somewhat wealthier people in the justice system. So we could perhaps say the same thing about the US. Arab countries for the most part can be called sexist states perhaps, and anti-semitic states as well (therefore racist). So to focus on Israel as a racist state in the context of a case where a person is claiming she was violated by someone’s deception seems peculiar. It is shifting the issue.

    As Zari points out, the belief among Arab men that Jewish women are loose is a very strong one. In fact, the belief extends to American women as well. I have personally experienced the threatening environment that the prevalence of this belief creates. The common belief that Jewish women, or American women, are loose whores available to anyone who asks for sex is a relevant part of this case.

  38. @Philosopher Queen:
    You state that “the common belief that Jewish women, or American women, are loose whores available to anyone who asks for sex is a relevant part of this case.”

    I’d be really interested to hear you expand on this statement. It’s not immediately clear to me how it has much bearing on the case, and I’d like to hear your views on why it does. In what way do his purported views on women make his actions more or less legally acceptable?

    I’m also of the camp in this thread that seem to think this act likely ought not to be classed as “rape”. Rape, at least as it is generally defined in the legal system (as far as I can tell), seems to be characterised by a lack of consent. Violent rape, clearly, is a cut-and-dry case. Date rape, too, involves a lack of consent: the victim may be plied by alcohol or drugs, or may say “no” and then “cave in.” Statutory rape is so called because it is assumed that minors are incapable of giving consent in a robust and meaningful way.

    Further, there is another characteristic that I think sets some non-classical cases of rape apart. For example, take the man who deceives the woman by pretending to be her boyfriend/husband in order to sleep with her. There is a certain immediacy involved in this deception that is lacking in deceits such as lying about one’s profession. It’s further distinguished in that it takes advantage of a pre-formed, consensual relationship.

    If you open up the definition of “rape” to include consent withdrawn after the act, on a general level (as in, including not just the case where someone is feigning to be the person already involved in an intimate relation), it seems as though you do open it up to many cases that we would think of as absurd.

    Many examples have already been given (see the “Manchester U” vs “Chelsea” scenario by Barry). Do we really want to call these cases rape? Perhaps some are truly okay with this, but such a world would make me very uneasy.

    Countless other examples could be presented. What of the devout Christian virgin who pledges never to have sex before marriage, who then meets the man of her dreams and marries shortly thereafter. They live in relative marital (and sexual!) bliss for a year before the husband demands a divorce, for whatever reason. If she had known he was going to divorce her, she would never have married him, and certainly would never have slept with him. Was he raping her, for a year?

    What of the bisexual woman who is afraid to “out” herself to friends and family, who strikes up a love affair with a man, not telling him about her inclinations. They fall in love, and she is faithful to him, but he is severely homophobic. He eventually finds out about her orientation and is disgusted to the core. He never would have slept with her, had he known she was even a little bit queer. Was she raping him?

    Certainly there is a moral component to these deceits that is non-negligible, and is worthy of discussion. But I’m not sure that they ought to be considered rape. The people in these examples consented to intercourse; perhaps, if there are intimate deal-breakers such as race, religion, occupation, orientation, etc., on the table, then it is prudent to do as much investigation and ask as many questions as one can. If you are uncertain or uncomfortable, there is always the choice to abstain from sexual intimacy. Unless, of course, that choice is taken away from you — then, indeed, it is rape.

    Of course, I could be wrong about all of this, and I’d welcome any critical response to what I’ve said above.

  39. Stephanie, of course you’re not wrong. These examples and a thousand more you could think of show that this is a ridiculous thread.

  40. Is it rape if the man is a doctor who pretends to undertake a pelvic exam and penetrates his patient sexually instead of, or in addition to the so-called gynecological exam?

    There’s a long history in US jurisprudence of drawing that line on the side of the woman taken advantage of rather than the con man who tricked her. Everyone seems to agree that using date-rape drugs crosses the line, but isn’t this just trickery one step removed?

    Many people take drugs for fun, just as many people have sex for fun, so if a man tricks a woman into taking a drug and then has intercourse with her while she is under the influence of that drug, exactly how is that different to tricking her into having sex with him through other means?

    If the man was HIV positive, and falsely claimed not to be as part of his predatory indifference to the safety and legitimate concerns of his victim, is it just a “good joke” if the woman becomes infected?

    Whatever one may think of Jewish marriage law, he callously made her ineligible for some legal marriages in Israel, and indeed in many Jewish communities, because a Kohen is prohibited from marrying a woman who’s had sex with a non-Jew. Everyone in Israel knows this, and every Jew, so it seems clear that this was a deliberate and hostile act of hatred, not just a “horny guy” who lies to a woman in order to have sex with her.

    It was in fact, a calculated act of antisemitism as well as a nasty trick on a vulnerable woman.

    This guy was a sexual predator — as the court observed — and surely the law ought to take note of that.

    The hysterical defense of this creep is surely a significant fact.

    He wasn’t prosecuted under a law that protects only Jews from Arabs, as is falsely claimed by many, but a law quite similar to the laws we have in the civilised USA, meant to protect women from sexual predators like this one.

  41. Rob – this isn’t a ridiculous thread. We’re discussing a real case, which raises all sorts of complex issues that people are trying to sort through.

  42. i agree with what stephanie said in the second part of her comment, and just wanted to throw out the following proposal for a necessary condition for something to count as rape:

    A has raped B only if:

    (i) B refused sex and A forced B to have sex anyway, or
    (ii) A deprived B of her capacity to refuse sex (e.g., through drugs), or
    (iii) A had sex with B even though B was incapable of refusing sex (e.g., because of being too young, or too drunk, or perhaps because B is starving and A promises to give her food only if she engages in sex).

    (i) captures violent rape, (ii) captures date rape by intentional drugging, (iii) captures other forms of date rape, statutory rape, and what we might call exploitative rape.

    assuming that the proposed necessary condition is correct, does the case under discussion meet it? i think the key issue is whether the man deprived the woman of her capacity to refuse by deceiving her. my initial reaction is to say that he hasn’t– at worst, he has prevented her from having the desire to refuse by misleading her about his ethnicity. this act, while morally wrong, seems importantly different from rape (which strikes me as having to do with the *capacity* for refusal, rather than manipulation of someone’s *desire to exercise* that capacity– but maybe i’m wrong about that).

  43. to amend my proposal above: it just occurred to me that a case in which someone neither refuses nor consents should presumably count as rape too (e.g., B’s just sitting there doing nothing, and A proceeds to have sex with her even though B hasn’t done anything to indicate consent or refusal). So:

    A has raped B only if:

    (i) B refused sex and A forced B to have sex anyway, or
    (ii) A deprived B of her capacity to refuse sex, or
    (iii) A had sex with B even though B was incapable of refusing sex, or
    (iv) B has not consented to sex.

  44. >> devout Christian virgin

    What if the marriage was fraudulently contracted, because the man already has another wife or two behind the scenes? What if the former virgin is now pregnant with the child of her deceiver, to whom she will have ties — through her child — for the rest of her life? Has she suffered a real loss then?

    Rape is just another word for theft, which is why rape and rob share a common root. It’s undeniable that something sexual has been taken from her through deceit, in fact her informed consent to intercourse and access to her womb.

    Why can we castigate and condemn the US Government, which deliberately allowed poor Black men to die untreated in the Tuskegee syphilis experiment when they told the men they were being treated with the best medicine money can buy, and say nothing more than “Bad boy! Bad!” to this creep?

    Are we to disguise the fact that sexual access to an otherwise unwilling woman was the whole purpose and object of his crime by whistling up another word or two?

    Is it more acceptable to classify this sort of con game as a crime if we call it “florbing?”

    Just wondering…

  45. “To deceive someone to get them to do something that they would not do otherwise is coercion. ”

    There is absolutely no coercion involved in this case: force is not the same as fraud. Get a dictionary.

    If you want to know where this kind of case leads, google “Kip Rhinelander” and feel thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.

    This case sounds like a casual hookup and the woman has no one to blame but herself for her choice of partners.

  46. @Liobhan,

    “It was in fact, a calculated act of antisemitism.”

    It’s only an act of antisemitism if you believe that being Jewish necessitates discriminating against non-Jews and that non-Jews have a moral obligation to assist Jews in practicing this discrimination.

    “Everyone in Israel knows this, and every Jew…” Yeesh.

  47. @Liobhan

    >>”It was in fact, a calculated act of antisemitism…”

    Not to muddy the waters too much, but I have to take issue with your characterization. The native Arab population of the region historically known as Palestine are most certainly Semitic peoples, even moreso some might argue than the population of Israel taken as a whole (which is composed of not insignicant percentages of immigrants who for many generations lived and interbred in places in places such as northern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, etc.).

    Also: “Everyone in Israel knows this, and every Jew, so it seems clear…”

    Um, no, this is not a statement that can in any way be substantiated, for there isn’t a woman or man alive who could possibly know that the entire population of a country knows something in particular; thus, it isn’t clear at all. The man in question – assuming that he did know – certainly could be guilty of not respecting the strictures of another faith’s tenets but then again so could I (in believing, for instance, that many aspects of fundementalist Islam’s stance towards women’s place in society are just a half step short of barbaric).

    As might be obvious reading between the lines above, I am of the opinion that, scouring the legal records, we would find no evidence of the same sort of prosecution within the state of Israel with which the circumstances be reversed. But I am certainly willing to be disabused of this notion by someone more diligent in researching the relevant case law.

  48. In terms of deception, Mr. Logic wonders whether Sabbar Kashur was cut in the traditional Jewish fashion? If not, the claim of deception seems pretty thin gruel…

  49. @Mr. Logic
    I thought Palestine was derived from Philistines, the biblical Philistines weren’t circumcised. Modern Palestinians are Arabs though and often but not always Muslim, who circumcise too. I reckon it is likely that mr Kashur is a muslim.
    I really have no clue whether you can distinguish a Jewish circumcision from a muslim one.
    Not sure if with such fleeting sexual contacts one would take the time to examine body parts (contrary to the Kip Rhinelander case, one might add).

  50. How can anyone not be outraged that this man has lost his freedom for two years because of this woman’s racism? If a white woman wants to only sleep with white men, and sleeps with a man who is a 16th black and the man does not apprise her of this fact, would you feel comfortable in allowing the state to punish this man and deprive him of his freedom for two years?

  51. @justanotherfemalephilosopher:
    Yes, the same thing would have happened if the man were a Christian. They are a minority in that region, and suffer some harsh discrimination. I have a friend who married an Israeli Christian. He was tragically grateful for her acceptance and his freedom here. Sad world we live in.

    After reading Liobhan’s comment about how sleeping with Arabs “ruins” Jewish girls for marriage, I was tempted to go all cultural relativist. But something similar happened to me not too long ago. I exercised my right to a somewhat forceful no.

    A grad student here (not one I took classes with–just one I met on campus) offered me a job, and invited me to his apartment to discuss it. Frankly, he was a little creepy and I would not have slept on his spare bed if it wasn’t freezing, and the local homeless shelter wasn’t so nasty. Well, just as I suspected, I woke up in the middle of the night with his icky hands all over me. I gave him a hard shove and told him I was leaving. He apologized and asked me to stay. Surprisingly, he didn’t grope me again. I’m a light sleeper and prone to “sleep punching”, or so I’ve been told. My double layer of pyjamas was still intact in the morning. No way would that little man have been able to get me to put out for a job.
    I’d cut off his balls first.

    When I asked about disciplinary action here at school, I was told to speak to the local police. I did, but I made a point of telling the police officer that I considered charging him with rape a joke. I told her that it was the responsibility of this institution to treat it as a case of professional misconduct, and save the police resources for the REAL rape victims.

    Shortly thereafter, I kicked in a window here, because my fuse is so short after an incident like that. I’m glad they didn’t charge me. The lounges here are more comfy than any homeless shelter. I abused my student card carrying privileges to death over the next 4 months.

    Nobody did a damn thing about my complaint. He smiled and waved at me in the cafeteria a few weeks ago. I think the look on my face scared him. I was actually weighing up the pros and cons of cutting him up on school property. I went back 10 minutes later, ready to mess him up, and he was gone. I haven’t seen him since. If I ever do see him again, I’m sure you all will be blogging about it. I’ll be sure to use his innards to leave a nice mess all over this “pristine” institution for the way they treated me, and for the way he treated me.

    A woman, even in an environment like that, can say no. If a woman’s looking for a relationship, it’s never a good idea to jump in bed with a guy before she’s even verified his name. What next? “I slept with him willingly, but when he turned on the light, I saw just how small his thing was! HALP!! I’m being repressed!! RAPE RAPE!” ?!?

  52. Btw, I’ve been meaning to ask J-Bro about this one for a few weeks now. It came up in a class on morality, relativism, etc. We were trying to figure out WTF?!? the point of that Sodom&Gomorrah story was. Homosexuality ok as long as no rape? Raping angels bad? Raping guests bad? Raping women ok? Etc. etc….

    When the 2 daughters went after their sleeping dad so they could get pregnant, the prof called that rape. I said PuhLEASE! If they got pregnant it’s not rape.

    Now, this prof is hilarious. Sometimes I can’t even tell when he’s pulling my leg, so he might have been pulling my leg. But he told the class that men can sleep through that.

    Can men actually sleep through that? And if they can (you poor poor things…) is it rape if a woman exploits his sleepiness? What does the law say?

  53. Would we be having this conversation if the genders of the two parties involved were switched?

  54. @Xena: Assuming you want a straight answer, I assume it would be, just as if two men molested a sleeping woman. And if he woke up and they pretended to be their mother in order to do it, then it would be classic rape by deception.

    But if you’re asking me about the “sleep through intercourse” part, I have trouble imagining it unless drugs are involved. I suppose anything’s possible, though.

  55. Thanks J-Bro. I was curious about how sleeping through getting both his daughters pregnant could constitute a rape of a man by 2 women. If he came not once but twice, and didn’t say no, then it’s not rape in my view.
    #56 looks like a rape. He woke up during the act and felt disgusted.

    Matt, that was hilarious. I might send that one to my prof.

  56. Okay so here’s what seems to have happened, from the various news reports:

    Man is walking down street. Woman starts conversation. The two flirt. After a few minutes they enter a nearby building and have consensual (this is uncontroversial) sex. Man hastily types woman’s number into his cell phone and leaves. Later he feels guilty and calls to check on her; she doesn’t answer but uses contact info to press a rape charge. Man is interrogated and placed under house arrest. Rape charge fails. Woman modifies charge to “rape by deception” after learning man is Arab and married. Charge goes through.

    At no point in the conversation did the man’s ethnicity actually come up – the woman just assumed he was Jewish because he goes by the common nickname “Dudu”. Presumably he won’t be charged with “theft by deception” for using that name around shopkeepers who might otherwise not sell to him. He did lie about being single, though.

    Can anyone explain to me how this is rape, using the terms of the actual event? It seems to me that this is rather a different matter from the professor offering sex in exchange for grades.

    It seems to me that what basically happened here is that the woman had a one-night stand, then afterwards felt so humiliated that she lashed out on the man using whatever means available. This is not rape, but the by-product of a social structure that punishes women for promiscuity.

  57. J-Bro, I’m cringing at this, but fair’s fair.
    If a frat boy passes out drunk and then wakes up and stops a creepy woman from engaging in oral sex with him because he’s disgusted by the act to which he has not consented, that’s rape too.

    The only difference between that and a frat boy raping a woman who’s passed out drunk is in who has the size, strength and power to stop the act from taking place. The passed out woman usually doesn’t. She gets raped, often impregnated and sometimes injured for lack of ability to fight back. The passed out frat boy pushes the offending woman away and gets on with his life. But the creepy woman has still committed an act of sexual assault. It’s just a matter of degrees. Of course, I can’t see what kind of pleasure the creepy woman would be getting from that type of assault, but some do, apparently.

  58. I actually cant believe that there are people who would defend such a clearly racist and ridiculous verdict. This woman lied to police about being violently raped, then, when it was proved beyond doubt that this was a complete lie, she changed her plea to rape by deception. In any other respectable legal system this case would have been thrown out. It was upheld because the judge was an ultra-orthodox Jew, and the defendant was an Arab. You cannot ignore the institutional racism prevalent in Israel against its Arab population when looking at this case. I also honestly cannot understand those who defend this women’s claim. She consented to sex. The fact she felt bad about it afterward, and knowing what she does now would not have made the same choice, IN NO WAY negates her original consent in this case. If I had sex with someone I found to be attractive, and found out they held conservative views afterwards, have I been raped? Since when did regretting it afterwards become the difference between rape and consensual sex? Do people have a responsibility to inform me of every aspect of their personality in advance in case one is a dealbreaker, and if they dont they are criminals, rapists and should be put in PRISON? Don’t be ridiculous. This is such a clear cut case of injustice, 18 months in prison and the destruction of his family life because a of a woman’s bigotry? Come on! And to those who would defend her bigotry, yes, people have a right to choose and sleep only with people they find attractive. She found him attractive enough to fuck him. She was only upset about it once she found out he was from a different ethnic group. That’s not sexual preference people, that bigotry.

  59. @Liobhan:
    >Is it rape if a doctor penetrates a patient who believes this is part of the treatment?

    Yes. The woman has not consented to sex; she’s consented to be treated. In the Israel case the woman did consent to sex; the issue is whether or not her alleged objection to the man’s race can negate this.

    >Date rape drugs:

    Also rape. The woman has been put into a state where her consent is impossible.

    >Lying about HIV:

    Assault, not rape (which is what the guy who did this was charged with). The HIV infection, not the sex, is the problem here.

    >Calculated act of anti-Semitism:

    This is a very ungenerous reading of the man’s intentions, especially since he never actually told her he was Jewish and since for a lot of men sex with a strange woman is its own motive, but I guess it’s possible. I agree that the “Arabs can’t be anti-Semitic because they are Semites” defence is basically just a semantic game though. Call it anti-Jewism if you want.

  60. @Xena: not what I meant. I meant: “If he came not once but twice, and didn’t say no, then it’s not rape in my view.” I’d hesitate to use orgasm as a test for consensuality.

  61. Say what? Some women have to work for HOURS for 2 orgasms. If she doesn’t want it, it ain’t happening. I find it really hard to believe that any man’s penis works like his digestive tract. Force the right stuff on it and it’ll just blow chunks? No. I’m not buying that.

  62. @Xena: if you have access to a scientific literature search, I suggest you do a search on that topic. There’s also a lot out on the Internet, including rape crisis centers assuring survivors of rape that having an orgasm during rape isn’t something for them to feel ashamed of and is a natural physiological reaction in some cases.

    In short, both men and women can have orgasms during sexual assault. Most do not, but some can. And prosecutors have used your argument against women who have been sexually assaulted in order to argue that it’s consensual.

  63. That whole issue sounds like something one of my profs brought up about Victorian doctors doping women up during childbirth so they wouldn’t have “orgasms” during the delivery. Her words: How THE FUCK he’d be able to tell if she were having one is beyond me…

  64. Except that survivors of rape have reported having orgasms during it, and I’d think they would know.

    The Victorian thing is frankly bizarre, which is no surprise.

  65. Drawn over by Jeremy who hit up, of all people, TWISTY FASTER at blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com and wow. Just wow.

    Let me cover this shit for you. Consent is simple. Did she say yes? Free of coercion, intimidation, with full reasoning faculties and complete, true information regarding the decision and without fear of consequence of refusal?

    If the answer is anything other than “yes,” it was rape. Wow, that was incredibly simple.

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  66. Miss Andrist, that’s the whole point of the debate. What constitutes information INcomplete and UNtrue enough to undermine a woman’s decision making process? We’re drawing the lines between “I have a grenade in my pocket” and “you look just like Megan Fox”.

    Oh, and some of the men we’re loving over here are LAWYERS, not English majors. Unlike debates between textualists and antitextualists and guys like Searle and Walton who I thought had their heads up all of their (and our) asses, clause by clause readings are actually USEFUL in courtrooms and political debates.

    And maybe guys like Jeremy suck up to rad fems because they don’t want to get their balls busted for defending a non-rapist to some woman who’s likely a fan of some ENGLISH MAJOR who made bazillions of dollars by selling some book about her rape issues and decided that made her qualified to write legislation too. Hint: every sex act IS NOT a rape!

  67. “Rape by deception” story was wrong”

    So…where are the anti-Semitic and rape apologists now..? So? Anyone? So yes? Helllllllloooooooooooooo???

    Un-fucking believable…

  68. Telling lie to obtain sex is dirty. And that man blamed on the woman whom tricked as a racist. That’s erally makeshift. It is not a matter of RACE.
    He is a married man with two children, while a victim want to get closer with a Jewish bachelor. She want to have sex with a man who shares the same berief, and did not expect an adultery.

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