The girl was an attractive teenager, a member of a large family living in a rural community. However, she was not satisfied with the company of her household. She was in the habit of going out by herself to visit some of the girls who lived in the area.
Just exactly what her motives were for these visits is not entirely clear. Evidently she was simply interested in cultivating new girl friends. Yet a young man there noticed her. Whether she had become acquainted with him earlier, and had done something to encourage his interest, is not known. On this occasion, however, he forced her to have sex relations with him.
That rape apparently was not premeditated, but the rape of another girl was. A young man had developed a passionate desire for his half sister. One day he pretended to be sick, asking his father to send his sister to his home to prepare some food for him. When they were alone, he grabbed her. Despite her fervent pleading, he overpowered and raped her.
Many of you previously have read about these rapes. The girls were Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and Tamar, the daughter of David. The accounts are recorded in the Bible.—Gen. 34:1-7; 2 Sam. 13:1-14.
Jacob’s daughter Dinah apparently was only in her early teens when she was forced into having sex relations. Why does the Bible tell about such tragic crimes as that? The apostle Paul provides an answer, saying: “For all the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction.”—Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11.
What can be learned from such Bible accounts?
LEARN TO ACT WITH DISCRETION
Dinah failed to act with discretion. The Bible says that she “used to go out to see the daughters of the land.” (Gen. 34:1) The inhabitants of Canaan were immoral people, prostitution evidently being common. (Gen. 34:31; 38:21) Dinah apparently had no business being out by herself among them. Likely her parents had warned her about associating with the girls of the land. If they had, she failed to listen, and this led to trouble.
Similarly, many young women today are raped because of needlessly putting themselves in compromising situations. Hitchhikers do this. In Oregon’s Multnomah county a person reportedly is raped every day. And more than half of those raped are young hitchhikers!
Many men are just looking for someone with whom to have sexual relations, and they assume that a woman who hitchhikes is, in effect, offering herself for that purpose. This has become a rather common view. For example, a California judge, explaining why a rape conviction was overturned, wrote: “It would not be unreasonable for a man in the position of the defendant here to believe that the female [hitchhiker] would engage in sexual relations.” Such a view may seem callous and wrong, but it illustrates the realities of the world today.
Although a man has no right to force a woman to have sex with him, under any circumstances, women need to be discerning as to how their actions are perceived by men. The chieftain’s son who raped Dinah may have assumed that to venture out by herself, Dinah must have been a girl of easy virtue. He may have concluded that her visits were not just to see some girl friends, but especially to see him. So he may have believed Dinah really wanted what she got.