That Was Then, This Is Now

Q. Recently there was an article in the news about a Muslim girl who was raped and then forced to marry her rapist. The girl just committed suicide. I said to myself: what a barbaric religion. Then the same article points to a similar scenario in the Bible (Deuteronomy 22:28). I was shocked to find this in the Bible. Deuteronomy does not say that the girl was against marrying her rapist but it does not say the girl was willing either. It does seem she had no say in it. Please comment on this, it is very disturbing.

A. One of the complaints about Islam stems from it’s effort to enforce 6th century cultural standards in a 21st century world. Most people don’t realize how different the culture was back then. People didn’t marry for love. In fact a man and woman had very little contact before their marriage, were never permitted to be alone together, and would typically not be in love. They married for economic and procreation purposes.

A woman who was not a virgin would have zero prospects for attracting a decent man and would be condemned to a life of poverty as a childless spinster, which was a disgrace. Her rapist was therefore required to compensate her father 50 shekels for the loss of his daughter, about 1.25 pounds of silver. Then he had to marry her without the possibility of divorce, in effect committing the rest of his life to financially supporting her, helping her to find fulfillment as a mother and securing her place in society. This was an effective deterrent against rape.

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