Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Rape in Chazal

 The Torah has a very different view of rape then we do today. The Torah sees rape as injuring the father by deflowering his daughter and devaluing her in terms of marriage. The Gemara in כתובות ל"ט has the following discussion about why the rapist pays צער, pain and suffering for rape.

צַעַר דְּמַאי? אָמַר אֲבוּהּ דִּשְׁמוּאֵל: צַעַר שֶׁחֲבָטָהּ עַל גַּבֵּי קַרְקַע. מַתְקֵיף לַהּ רַבִּי זֵירָא: אֶלָּא מֵעַתָּה, חֲבָטָהּ עַל גַּבֵּי שִׁירָאִין, הָכִי נָמֵי דְּפָטוּר? וְכִי תֵּימָא הָכִי נָמֵי — וְהָתַנְיָא, רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן: אוֹנֵס אֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם אֶת הַצַּעַר — מִפְּנֵי

וְהָא קָא חָזֵינַן דְּאִית לַהּ? אָמַר אַבָּיֵי: אֲמַרָה לִי אֵם, כְּמַיָּא חַמִּימֵי עַל רֵישֵׁיהּ דְּקַרְחָא. רָבָא אָמַר: אֲמַרָה לִי בַּת רַב חִסְדָּא: כִּי רִיבְדָּא דְכוּסִילְתָּא. רַב פָּפָּא אָמַר: אֲמַרָה לִי בַּת אַבָּא סוּרָאָה: כִּי נַהֲמָא אַקּוּשָׁא בְּחִינְכֵי.

The mishna taught that a rapist pays for the pain that he caused. The Gemara asks: For what pain is he obligated to pay? Shmuel’s father said: It is for the pain that he caused when he slammed her onto the ground while raping her. Rabbi Zeira strongly objects to this: But if what you say is so, if he slammed her onto silk, so too is the halakha that he is exempt from payment for pain? And if you say indeed that it is so, but isn’t it taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Yehuda says in the name of Rabbi Shimon: A rapist does not pay for the pain due to the fact 

The Gemara asks: If so, a seduced woman should also be obligated to make that payment as well. Rav Naḥman said that Rabba bar Avuh stated a parable: To what can this matter of a seducer be compared? It can be compared to a person who said to another: Tear my silk and be exempt from payment. Since she engaged in relations of her own volition, she certainly absolved him of payment for the pain. The Gemara asks: Tear my silk? It is not her silk, and therefore she may not waive payment for damage to it; it is the silk of her father, as the fine and the other payments are paid to him. Rather, Rav Naḥman said that Rabba bar Avuh said that the clever women among them say that a seduced woman has no pain during intercourse, as she is a willing participant. The Gemara asks: But don’t we see that even a married woman has pain when she engages in sexual relations for the first time? Abaye said: My foster mother told me that the pain is like hot water on the head of a bald man. Rava said: My wife, Rav Ḥisda’s daughter, told me that it is like the stab of a bloodletting knife. Rav Pappa said: My wife, Abba Sura’s daughter, told me that it is like the feeling of hard bread on the gums. When a woman engages in intercourse willingly, the pain is negligible. Therefore, the seducer is not obligated to pay for pain.

 I think if you asked female rape victims about the pain of rape you would get very different answers. 

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