UPDATE: I’ve just received a report from a well-informed Israeli source which directly contradicts the claims of Hadas Shtaif reported below. The source says that the police investigation was completed yesterday and transferred to the prosecutor, who has not yet decided whether to prosecute or not. Because the information in this report is much more specific than Shtaif’s, I find it more credible.
Also, Shtaif is a good police reporter because she has lots of friends/sources (mostly male) in the police force. Some of them undoubtedly told her the victim’s story and case is a crock. She dutifully reported this on her Facebook page. All this means is that she’s a good stenographer for her police sources. It doesn’t mean she has any sources in the prosecutor’s office or that she really knows what will happen to the case.
Israeli crime reporter, Hadas Shtaif, in her Facebook Wall, boasts almost with pleasure that her sources tell her that the Israeli police have dropped the rape case against Channel 2 reporter, Yoav Even. My own Israeli sources tell me that Shtaif is a credible reporter, but methinks there’s something entirely too celebratory about this comment which embraces Even unconditionally. Frankly, I find it a bit unsettling that a female police reporter should automatically side with the male suspect in a rape case. But here’s her statement:
Pay attention. The furor over the Yoav Even case is much ado about nothing. Even was investigated, came out of it smelling like a rose. The investigation shows that a rape never happened. The prosecutor determined there were no grounds for filing an indictment. Case closed. Remember, a police force which was bold enough to bring a charge of rape against a sitting President wouldn’t be frightened to bring an indictment against a reporter if there was anything to the case. In this case the police were prohibited from bringing a charge because it would’ve meant doing an injustice to Even. Believe me.
Frankly, I don’t. And Shtaif misses some important points. There was a huge furor within Israel over the Katsav rape case. At several points, the police and prosecutor considered dropping the charges. But because there was no gag and because the public could express its opinion about the case, pressure was exerted on the courts and police to go forward. At another point the prosecution offered Katsav what feminist groups considered a sweetheart deal which would’ve considerably reduced the charges against him. They offered him this despite all of the furor around the case from the public. It was only Katsav’s stubbornness and conviction that he could vindicate himself which led him to reject the offer and go to trial, where he lost.
In a case like Even’s, there is no public furor. No one can weigh in in any substantive way. Now, for true believers in Israel’s justice system they prefer it this way. They are firmly convinced that justice is always done and that charges can and should be weighed out of the glare of public spotlight. Me, I’m not as sanguine about the quality of Israeli justice especially when it involves national security or sexual violence against women. Israeli justice is entirely susceptible to suggestion and subtle, even unconsicous pressures on behalf of the male establishment. There is often a presumption in rape cases that the woman did something to provoke or invite the sexual encounter. The judge in this case has said precisely that about the victim. That’s precisely why there needs to be public input and public scrutiny or decisions such as these.
If Hadas Shtaif is correct I fear there has been a miscarriage of justice. If Even has been exonerated I hope the victim will sue him in civil court to assess, if successful, at least a financial cost for Even’s alleged actions. And let women who wish to dally with Even in future be aware of his history and be forewarned. If he is innocent, he will live this down, his life will go on, he will earn every success coming to him, and he will not have paid a severe penalty. If he is not, women in future are liable to suffer the fate of this victim. At least there is now a record should this happen again.
If Shtaif is correct, I fear that one major reason that the police dropped the case is because in the victim’s testimony she says that very early in their encounter she consented to being kissed by Even. From that point onward, she objected and resisted according to her testimony. Admittedly, a sexual encounter in which there is any consent becomes harder to prosecute. But if I am right and this is the reason the police have dropped the case, this means that no male-dominated police force or State prosecution will be willing to prosecute cases in which women have been raped in which there has been any form of consent. This means that the only women who can succeed in having their cases accepted will be those who never consented at any point in their rape.
I find this to be a sad phenomenon if I am right. It points further to the infantilizing of women, to turning them into objects which are not entitled to the varieties of responses to human situations which we all face. Women should be able to say no at any point in a sexual encounter even if they began by saying yes. Saying no should mean what it says no matter what preceded it. If you say no and your partner ignores you and proceeds, he has committed rape and should be prosecuted for it, no matter what you may’ve said before you said no.
If Shtaif is right, I am sad. Sad for Israeli justice, sad for the victim, sad for Israeli women.