Regarding biblical accounts of sexual assault, Mieke Bal writes, ‘Rape is an expression of hatred, motivated by hate, and is often accompanied by offensive verbal language.’ Amnon failed to consider Tamar as a complete person, created with dignity in the image of God. The intensity of Amnon’s desire for Tamar was matched only by the intensity with which he hated her.
Verses 13, 19, and 22 repeatedly describe the effects of Tamar’s assault: disgrace, shame, and reproach. After the assault, Tamar is privately and publicly traumatized by shame. The description of her outward appearance intends to show her inward feelings. Verse 19 is one sentence made up for four clauses that describe Tamar’s state; “Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.” Holcomb, Rid of My Disgrace, p. 19.