Breisheet Chapter 34 begins with the story of the rape of Dinah: “Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Yaakov, went out, to see the local girls. She was seen by Shechem, son of Chamor, the Chivi, who was the prince of the land. He took her and lay with her and afflicted her (vaye’aneha).”
Ramban explains that all forced sexual connection is called “affliction”, “inui”. Scripture emphasizes that Dinah was forced and did not consent to the prince of the country.
As the story unfolds, we do not hear from Dinah at all, not after the rape and not when she is taken captive. From what we see from the text, she is completely silent when Shechem tries to convince her brothers to let him marry her. We also don’t hear from her after she is rescued.
Yaakov is silent as well.
In Breisheet 34:5 we read: “Yaakov heard that he (Shechem) had defiled his daughter, Dinah, while his sons were with the livestock in the fields. Yaakov remained silent until they returned.”
Yaakov let his sons do all of the talking and negotiating with Shechem’s family and he only speaks up at the end of the chapter (sentence 30) about Shimon and Levi’s violence, not about the rape: “Yaakov said to Shimon and Levi, ‘You have made trouble for me, to make me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the C’naani and Prizi. Since I am few in number, they will gather and attack me. I and my family will be destroyed.’”
We know that Shimon and Levi’s behavior (killing the men on the third day after they had been circumcised) continued to bother Yaakov. On his death bed (Breisheet 49:7) Yakov said “Cursed be their (Shimon and Levi’s) anger for it is powerful and their fury for it is cruel.”
Why didn’t Yaakov speak up about the rape? Why did he let things get out of hand before intervening? Why don’t we hear from Dinah?
We don’t have answers to any of those questions and unfortunately some things still have not changed.
Through the recent #MeToo campaign, many women who were afraid to speak out about the abuse that they went through are finally opening up about what happened.
Unfortunately, Dinah was never able to express herself and tell her own story about what really went on and the anguish that she suffered.
May the statements of the women who have courageously spoken up so far help promote awareness of abuse and help deter all forms of misconduct in the future.