Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Jerusalem "Rape by Deception" Case: Can a Lie Transform Consensual Sex Into Rape?

by Sherry F. Colb

August 4, 2010

In September of 2008, a woman met a man in Jerusalem. The two began talking, and soon afterward, there was sexual intercourse. A few weeks ago, after pleading guilty, the man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for raping the woman. This was not, however, a typical case of rape. The woman acknowledges that she consented to have sex with the man, that he did not force her to do anything, and that he did not threaten her. The woman, moreover, was not a minor, was not mentally incompetent, and was not impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time she made her decision.

What, then, led to the conduct's being labeled "rape"? Prior to having sex, the man, Sabbar Kashur (alternately spelled Saber Kashour and Sabar Kashour in different media outlets), told the woman that he was a single Jewish man, interested in a serious relationship. In reality, however, he was (and is) a married, Palestinian Arab man with two children.

This column will examine the legitimacy of classifying what happened in this case as a "rape" of any sort.