If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is there, did it make a sound?

I’m not one for quoting christian bibles, but there’s a little wisdom worth sharing.

I’m confounded by statistics asserting rates of rape among American women which include unreported rapes, in other words, claims of rape with no conviction, no charges filed, no grand jury, and no public accusation.

The legal basis for adjudicating rape doesn’t end with, “He raped me.” There’s a process for such serious accusations, and that process matters because it gets to the truth and excludes false accusations – the cry, “Wolf!” that destroys lives for not merely the accused but for all other wronged women who deserve justice.

So, here’s the bibilical stuff.

Toward the end of the 22nd Chapter of Deuteronomy, there’s a long discussion about what is takes to make a rape charge stick. Following some preliminaries establishing punishment for infidelity – for both men and women – the basic premise is established. Here are the cases, enumerated.

1. A man has sex with a woman who is another man’s wife. She does not resist. They are discovered. Death penalty for both.

2. A man has sex with a woman who is another man’s wife. She resists. They are discovered. Death penalty for man.

3. A man has sex with a woman who is another man’s wife. She resists. They are not discovered. Death penalty for man.

4. A man has sex with a woman who is not married or engaged or otherwise promised to another man (never mind by whom or for what reason). She resists. They are not discovered. Man is fined 50 sheckels silver ($600 silver, if you bought it today) plus lifetime alimony for the victim.

I don’t know what the rest of you think of bibilical justice – it being all evil and such being the usual complaint – but it seems to me that this is pretty rough on men. If these are the rules, I wouldn’t let myself be found alone with a woman lest she accuse me of something.

These days, we at least get a day in court – at least until the feminists take that away – at which point they’ll discover what the world looks like when you up the penalties for rape and lower the standard for conviction such that men won’t associate with women out of fear.

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7 responses to “If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is there, did it make a sound?

  1. 2 and 3 are the same – ?
    “but it seems to me that this is pretty rough on men.” I do believe it is critical to put these rules into the context of the era they were written in. You also have to understand the female mindset of a female valued at less than a goat. Why would a raped woman potentially worthless, cause trouble and possibly be murdered or abandoned with no hope of supporting herself. Context Context Context is key to understanding those rules.

    In our time – today – I think you would be very wise to associate with women you can trust. ; )

    • Jayne, those are excellent questions deserving answers, so here they are.

      In the context of a world where all serious disease is likely fatal, sexual fidelity matters.

      In the context of a world where the brute strength of male labor may be necessary for survival in a harsh environment, male support of women is a necessity.

      In the context of potential cuckolding of competent men by philanderers and polyandrous women, when that male labor is precious, paternity matters.

      In the context where female accusations of male sexual malfeasance are difficult to refute, men can’t risk unchaperoned time with women.

      I suspect context has not sufficiently altered to justify less caution by men. Women, I assert, have less to fear than before.

      Case in point: I spoke with an office neighbor who told me she complained about a male housekeeper who opened her office while she was present late one night and explained he worried he’d left on her lights, then excused himself and departed. That cost him his job. No man would have given the incident much thought (I didn’t when he said the same to me 6 months ago), but the presence of a woman changed the whole scenario.

      That anecdote and some others prompted my post after a long hiatus.

      • I absolutely love your response! I believe such insight is uncommon.
        As far as the woman- wrong. Worse than her is the climate of litigation because it had to be a FEARFUL management who allowed the man to be fired. People need to learn how to handle themselves well. I get the feeling that society keeps taking our own accountability away by making basic laws that should be handled with common sense and logic. I’m glad you’re back – I love your post. It’s smart.

      • jayne- if only there were management to blame; she is the boss at her leased office. The building owner was given a choice between firing a single man and losing a several-thousand-dollar-a-month tenant. THe man’s salary probably didn’t match her rent. In such cases, individual men lose.

  2. Your view is too modern. The crime worthy of a death penalty was not sexual assault, but using someone else’s property without permission. Justice was about that insult. As feuds and wars were started about incidents like that, a swift death penalty was the wisest course for the community.

    That is particularity illustrated in scriptures that speak about purposefully giving a daughter to a crowd to be gang raped to death. Killing her was no crime, the use of her was approved.

    A man was a human, a woman was a thing. You are trying to discuss equality about something that wasn’t a legal human. A slave had more rights under the law than a woman had. That progression is: man, slave, woman.

    Could you seriously discuss equality between a man and a male slave?

    • Ikt: please excuse my late reply. I’ve been “away” and overlooked your comment. These are my thoughts.

      My character is such that I tend to view women as both people and property, so my conclusions are clouded with the view you suggest I’ve overlooked. For this reason I have not discounted your point – but it’s a minor point, in practice. Despite the purported historical position of women as property, nonetheless, men have daughters, and this subtle reality is only lost on men that would treat sons with equal disinterest. The effect is that such archaic laws are designed not merely to treat women as property, but also as valued persons. I think there is also some consideration for the average strength of a woman versus the average strength of a man in that there is a presumption that women are nearly defenseless against the physical force of men, so the presumption is that the behavior of men must be circumspect and honorable and above repute and publicly observable, whereas women are merely required to be chaste in order to protect their witness against men.

      As regards a man’s behavior toward a slave, there is a long and complicated set of laws governing slavery among middle-eastern cultures. Most of these more closely resemble some form of indenture as was common in colonial America for apprentices than the eventual practice of slavery on the eve of the War Between the States. Debt was strictly regulated, jubilees were enforced, alien slaves were treated differently than natives, slaves were a bounty of war, and such other customs, laws, and expectations were in place to mitigate enslavement so that men needn’t fight to death because an alternative to death was available, if not preferable.

      So slavery among men – to my thinking – was not dramatically different than some of the more onerous employment conditions still common in post-modern America today. Employees work for employers. They often lack the capital and access to financing to compete with an employer. Employees must obey employers or be fired. Social safety nets, more common beginning in the 20th century, had equivalents elsewhere in history. At worst, a slave may be sold. Between men, the rule is essentially that of equals and subordinates. The more self-reliant one becomes, the less a slave. That, I think, has been true in all ages.

      What fascinates me is the notion that we are somehow above these fundamental social rules, or that people like me somehow assume some modern mindset that clouds our vision. Nothing is further from the truth. I keep an armed and ready household, and treat my unsecured debts (I have some) no different that shackles from which I should hope to be free. I don’t view employment different from bondage, nor subordinates except as servants. My colleagues – clients, fellow consultants, vendors – are fellow traders of labor, and stay free to abandon one another ar will. Our loyalty is not bought so much as exchanged among us. In my current professional role, a man who treats me as an employee or subordinate will likely find himself facing the back of my rapidly receding head.

      All this to say that my initial comment was not so much about applying levitical law to modern living as it was a commentary on what I believe to be the conclusion of any attempt to further imply men are untrustworthy in the presence of women. We’ve already tried that style of living and it ultimately does not suit women any better than the men they seek to chain – and I believe that an accurate description of the motives of many modern women.

      A woman of some influence in my life recently asked me if I was “alright” with a particular course of action. I told her it made no difference to me, that the course she proposed would entail challenges for my life, but that these challenges were not greater than alternatives available. Deep down, she really wanted to know was whether her actions would lead me to disassociate with her.

      This power to “leave” a person is the real measure of equality among peers. Slaves don’t have this power, which is why nations requiring exit visas are often described as slave-states. Your freedom from slavery was established when you left home (good blog, BTW). Leaving made your freedom real. Your family’s non-recognition of that freedom marks them as slavers – probably the most foul term in common parlance today. Of course, my only claim to superiority is that I don’t enslave people against their will or benefit.

      I worry this meandering monologue may not have addressed your question precisely, but I hope I’ve at least illuminated my motivations. Please don’t hesitate to question me further.

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