Perhaps that scared me most, as an 11-year old girl reading the section for the first time without the censorship of a teacher. I struggled to continue reading the next chapter, because I was still lingering over the forgotten daughter of Jacob. What happened to her? Where did she disappear to? Did she ever love someone afterwards, and did she ever find someone who would overlook her disgrace? The text gives no clues to her feelings, and the reader doesn't even hear her voice – part of the tragedy of Dinah’s rape is that she is utterly, painfully silent throughout.
The women whisper to each other, “Godless criminals!” while the men jokingly suggest innovative punishments for the criminal. We quickly hush the conversation when a child enters the room. There have been abuse scandals in the Orthodox community before, yet each time we still shake our heads in disbelief: How can this happen in a community so pious, so zealously devoted to good deeds?
We wonder at those who have supported a convicted rapist over his victim, these same leaders we’ve been taught to admire, to emulate and to seek their blessing. Where is the desperate pursuit of justice with which our tradition has blessed us? Where is the Jewish commitment to supporting the oppressed, the voiceless, the widow and the orphan and the victim too?
Now Dinah opens her mouth and speaks.