‘Not your typical rapist’

Caroline Blyth

in The Narrative of Rape in Genesis 34

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199589456
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594571 | DOI:
‘Not your typical rapist’

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This chapter considers the myths and misperceptions surrounding rapists, including the belief that ‘men just can't help themselves’ and the false stereotypical images of the ‘archetypal’ rapist. Turning to Genesis 34, the author then contemplates the rather contradictory depiction of Shechem, who, after raping Dinah, appears to fall in love with her. The question is raised: did the narrator thus seek to ‘rehabilitate’ Shechem following his initially negative portrayal as Dinah's rapist? Through a close analysis of the Hebrew terms used to depict Shechem within the Genesis 34 narrative, the author concludes that, contrary to the view of many biblical interpreters, the narrator was not seeking sympathy for this character, nor did he intend to redeem him. Using the testimonies of contemporary rape survivors, consideration is then given to the possible effects of Shechem's awakened affections upon his victim Dinah, including his proposal of rapist‐victim marriage.

Keywords: Shechem; Dinah; Genesis 34; rapist; rape; rapist' victim marriage; rape myths

Chapter.  13459 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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