Shechem for president: Erasing the voices of the sexually abused

shechemWe know Jacob was not just the father of boys. After the list of all the sons born to Leah, as an afterthought the birth of Dinah is mentioned (Gen. 30:21). We can only wonder how many other daughters who were born to patriarchs have remained invisible or only mentioned in passing (Gen. 46:15).

Throughout the entire biblical story, Dinah remains the object; she is never granted subjectivity. Her voice, her concerns, her pains, her emotions, her frustrations are never articulated. In the midst of her abuse, she never says a word; for we know if the subaltern was to speak, she would be ignored, ridiculed, dismissed and erased. In effect, her testimony remains unheard. No doubt her abusers would insist she would never be their first choice — she is too ugly to even be worthy of sexual assault. You can imagine her abuser saying: “When you look at that horrible woman ….  I don’t think so! I don’t think so!” All that matters, and all we hear throughout the biblical narrative, is how her abused body, as object, prompts the men in the story.

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