If The Woman Does Not Scream And Resist?

B J Kotwall

(Investigator 65, 1999 March)

Deuteronomy 22

The Watchtower Society (WTS) has a fascination with sex and involves itself in every aspect of Jehovah's Witnesses' (JWs) lives.

In the case of rape and fornication the WTS gives conflicting advice to females. The WTS has used Deuteronomy 22:23-27 to suggest that a woman is guilty of fornication if she doesn't scream when being raped:

If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbour's wife...

Inconsistent Quotes

To demonstrate the WTS's fickleness a "yes" or "no" is placed above each of the following quotes to answer the question: Is Rape Fornication if the Woman Does not Scream and Resist?


w1964 1/15 63-64 Questions from Readers
But suppose the man had a weapon and threatened to kill the girl if she failed to lie down with him? These scriptures (Deuteronomy 22:23-27) do not weaken the argument or alter the situation by citing any circumstance that would justify her in not screaming. It plainly says she should scream; hence, oppose the attack regardless of the circumstances...
Thus if a Christian woman does not cry out and does not put forth every effort to flee, she would be viewed as consenting to the violation...for if she should submit to the man's passionate wishes she would not only be consenting to fornication or adultery, but be plagued by the shame...
A Christian woman is entitled to fight for her virginity or marital fidelity to the death.


w1968 6/1 347 The Christian's View of Self-Defense
An issue of integrity to Jehovah's laws is involved here. So by no means would it be proper quietly to submit to rape, as that would be consenting to fornication.


g1974 3/8 14 Faced with the Threat of Rape
She told him that...if she did not scream she would ruin her relationship with Jehovah God and the Christian congregation; that then she would be disfellowshipped or excommunicated from it and that this would be worse than being killed as far as she was concerned.

NO (Inferred)

g1980 7/8 5-6 The Growing Terror of Rape
How Most Victims React. Often coupled with the fear is confusion and uncertainty. For example, a 19-year-old explained: "I never physically fought him off in any way, partly because I was frightened, mostly because in my naivete I thought a girl has to do what she's told... I was overwhelmingly confused and defenseless against the whole suddenness... She reacted as many others have under similar circumstances. Profound terror in the face of physical threats simply renders most women helpless.


w1980 10/15 7 Avoiding the Tragedy of Rape
She told him that if he touched her she would scream as he had never heard anyone scream before. She explained that if she did not she would ruin her relationship with Jehovah God and the Christian congregation. A Christian woman is under obligation to resist, for the issue of obedience to God's law to "flee from fornication" is involved.


w1983 3/15 30 Honor Godly Marriage!
What do we understand here by "fornication"? The Greek word in this text is porneia. A male or a female who is forcibly raped would not be guilty of porneia.


g1984 2/22 24-25 They Resisted Rapists
But the rapist is asking a person to break God's law by committing fornication. Under such circumstances a Christian is obligated to resist...


g1984 618 28 From Our Readers
For the victim to be considered guilty of fornication there would need to be proof of willing consent.

NO (Inferred from the definition)

Insight Volume 2 page 753 Rape
Rape is defined as unlawful sexual intercourse without the woman's consent, effected by force, duress, intimidation, or deception as to the nature of the act.

Insight Volume 1 page 863 Fornication
The unlawful act of a rapist is fornication, but, of course, that does not make the person who is forcibly raped also a fornicator.

YES (Inferred)

g1986 5/22 23 "Now You Are Going to Die"
I just reacted instantly erupting in a frenzy of yelling and clawing and kicking and biting...
Because of them [the words in Deuteronomy 22], I had known exactly what to do. I screamed besides which I also fought back.


g1986 9/22 28 From Our Readers
True, the woman has to respond according to her assessment of the danger to her life.


g1993 3/8 5 The Reality of Rape
Myth: A rape victim bears part of the blame unless she actively resists...
Fact: Rape by definition takes place when force or the threat of force is used to gain sexual penetration, of any kind whatsoever, against a person's will. It is the rapist's use of force against an unwilling victim that makes him a rapist. Thus, a rape victim is not guilty of fornication... When a woman is forced to submit to a rapist out of terror or disorientation, it does not mean that she consents to the act. Consent is based on choice without threat and is active, not passive.
Myth: Rape is an act of passion.

All We Say Comes From God

Despite inconsistencies in doctrine and advice the WTS says that input into their publications is from Jehovah himself!

The resolutions adopted by conventions of God's anointed people, booklets, magazines, and books published by them contain the message of God's truth and are from the almighty God, Jehovah, and provided by him through Jesus Christ and his underofficers...
Jehovah…provides all material for the purpose of preparing his fiery message… (The Watchtower 1938 May 1, p. 143)

Jehovah commissioned this…class of servants to speak to all the nations in His name.
(The Nations Shall Know That I am Jehovah" – How? 1971 p. 66)

He [God] has put his word, his message of this hour, into the mouth of the spiritual remnant.
(Holy Spirit – The Force behind the coming New Order 1976 p. 176)

He [God] put his "words", his message, into the mouth of his servants for them to proclaim earth wide.
(Survival into a New Earth 1984 p. 109)

We Hardly Ever admit Our Mistakes

The WTS has not admitted their inconsistencies on the subject of rape or published statistics on how many JW women were disfellowshipped because they did not fight the rapists to death or on how many were hurt following WTS advice.

g = Awake!
w = The Watchtower
Insight = Insight on the Scriptures

Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses at: