Quick. When you hear the phrase "consensual sex," what comes to mind?
Rape? How about "Rape by deception."
Because that is what one unfortunate Arab man is convicted of for having had the misfortune of sleeping with the wrong Jewish woman. His crime? Pretending he was a Jew. His punishment? Two years of house arrest and a possible 18 months in jail.
Here’s what went down. The man met the woman in downtown Jerusalem and after misrepresenting himself as a Jew (or not correcting her assumption), stole away with her to a nearby building where they had consensual sex. Let us not dwell on this part of the story because it certainly begs many questions.
Instead, let’s focus on the facts. The two coupled, so to speak. Then he fled. One article even included the detail that the man did not wait for the woman to get dressed before leaving.
I think we can all agree that the guy’s no gentleman. He’s a cad. He’s a real jerk on wheels. But is he really a criminal?
The woman thought so, enough to file a complaint against him once she found out that he was an Arab.
In taking her side, the judges wrote in their verdict that even though this was not a "classical rape by force" case, since the consent was obtained through deception and under false pretenses, it thereby qualifies as rape.
"If she hadn’t thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated," wrote the judges.
"When the very basis of trust between human beings drops, especially when the matters at hand are so intimate, sensitive and fateful, the court is required to stand firmly at the side of the victims…otherwise, they will be used, manipulated and misled…," it continued.
Based on this logic I could up and sue many – and I mean, many – men for deception.
How about the guy I met online who told me he was a 40-year-old Frenchman with one name when he was actually a 45-year-old Russian who answered to another name? I spent a lot of time emailing this man and even had a short romance with him before I learned the truth.
Or what about the guys who have no intention of settling down and still go ahead and woo and bed single women looking for something serious?
Which doesn’t even include all those married men out there who chase after unknowing single women.
Are all these men guilty of rape?
At the same time, what about all the women out there perpetrating these same crimes? Because the male species has not cornered the market on deception.
So what is this case really about?
To begin with, it belittles actual rape. If every time a person lies or deceives others it is called "rape" then what about the men who really do violently assault women?
Beyond that, there is a weird, out of date, patriarchal attitude going on here, as if the fair maidens of Israel need to be protected against menacing men who don’t have pure intentions.
Well, I have news for you, ladies and gentleman of the Jerusalem District Court: Lots of "Jewish bachelors" are committing just as grievous offenses – they are just not getting punished for it.
Because in the world of dating and relationships, nothing is sacred. It’s unfortunate, yes. It’s also disheartening, but it’s just the way it is. That’s why it is up to each of us to use good judgment and to take care of ourselves. Which is another way of saying, having sex with someone you don’t know – no matter their race or religion – is taking a big risk. And at the end of the day, it is not your city’s responsibility to protect you from men who who they say they are, and who aren’t exactly offering to meet up again under the chupah.
But that is a side point.
Because what this case is really about is racism. If this man had been a Jew he would not sitting under house arrest right now waiting to find out if he’s headed to jail. He would be back on Jdate, trolling for his next victim.
So to sentence this Arab man for "rape by deception" makes not only a mockery of the Israeli legal system, but is also a disgrace to the entire country.