Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lebanon Following Halacha?

While reading some old Human Rights Watch reports (I clearly have too much time), I noticed the following description of Lebanese (and Palestinian) rape laws:

Forced sex, on the other hand, is inadequately defined in Lebanese law. The definition of rape explicitly excludes forced sex in marriage, and the rape of a virgin by means of deception is potentially subject only to a fine (article 518).  If a rapist marries his victim following the crime, the law exonerates him (article 522). Similar legal provisions pardoning an alleged rapist if he marries his victim exist in countries like Bahrain, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The majority of countries in the region also do not criminalize marital rape.

In the Torah we find that  a man who seduces an unmarried girl, is forced to marry her. Clearly there is a difference between seducing a girl and raping her, and yet I'm sure that the same logic lies behind both rules. The traditional explanation for the rule in the Torah - is that "In those days" once a girl was seduced, no one would want to marry her - and hence the man who seduced her must be made to pay for the her new status - and marry her. I'm sure the same logic applies in Lebanon. While the Rabbinic Halacha long ago made this injunction irrelevant, it appears that some in the Middle East continue to mirror its logic.

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