Believe in each other
Our only way to protect ourselves from men closing ranks in cases of sexual assault and harassment by accusing the victim of 'consent' and vindictiveness is to believe in each other.
Recently, the Tel Aviv weekly Ha'ir published the transcript of the trial in which Sabbar Kashur, an Arab, was convicted of rape by deceit, duping a woman by posing as a Jew named Dudu. As it turns out according to the report by Lital Grossman, the sex was not consensual, but was actually rape, of the clear-cut, cruel "simple" kind.
"He told me that if I were quiet and did not resist, then it would be, like, it would be over more quickly and it would not be, like, he would not use force. But I did resist and it was by force" - with blood and scratches and scars, which are documented at the hospital to which she was taken.
Indeed, the original indictment was for forcible rape and the accused was the one to initiate the plea bargain, in which he confessed "only" to rape by deception.
And all this time I, too, thought that the court was racist and what would be natural with a Jewish guy was considered rape when with an Arab. I, too, did not stop to think that it is unlikely that a woman would jump on a guy named Dudu, drag him off for wild consensual sex and when she found out his name was Sabbar, would complain that he had raped her.
How terrible. Because of the fact that in this case the target of the public's ire was more the court, which "harms the real victims," and less the victim herself, as often happens, even I, who for 15 years have been speaking up for rape crisis centers and victims of sexual assault, I felt guilty that a sister had caused such serious racial injustice.
It is clear why. We women are educated from the beginning not to listen to ourselves, not to believe ourselves and certainly not to believe women who say they have been raped.
The men, as is almost usual, stood up and with one voice protected the man accused of rape. In this case, an Arab man is suddenly accorded a higher place because he symbolizes the right of a man to unlimited sex without consequences; because the complaint against him symbolizes the worsening conditions of men due to the laws against sexual harassment and rape.
Suddenly they would risk their heads for the Arab man who on any other day they would easily consider a traitor.
Israel is really a racist state, and we must protest its racism. But we capitulated in the face of the accusation of racism - and also got into the same boat as the righteous men who are fighting racism - and we repressed the first part of the story.
Yes, the media is responsible in choosing not to check the details. Yes, the prosecution made a mistake in not realizing that the plea bargain took the sting out of the rape conviction. Yes, there was carelessness in the way the conviction was written so that it sounds like it was because of the complainant's testimony that the indictment was changed from forcible rape to rape by deception.
But we should know better. After all, every woman knows on the deepest level that there is no such thing as going up on the roof of a construction site in the middle of the day with a man you just met for wild sex and then lodging a complaint against him.
We must no longer fall into these places. Our only way to protect ourselves from men closing ranks in cases of sexual assault and harassment by accusing the victim of "consent" and vindictiveness is to believe in each other. Always to believe in each other. For each of us to remember the reality of our lives and to know that we are all real victims.
We must have faith in each other that is beyond the shadow of a doubt. That is the true meaning of believing in ourselves.