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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 166863 Find in a Library
Title: "If a Man's Wife Does Not Obey Him, What Can He Do?" Marital Breakdown and Wife Abuse in Late Nineteenth-Century and Early Twentieth-Century Ontario (From Law, Society, and the State: Essays in Modern Legal History, P 323-350, 1995, Louis A Knafla and Susan W S Binnie, eds. -- See NCJ-166852)
Author(s): A E Golz
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 28
Sponsoring Agency: University of Toronto Press
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2W8, Canada
Sale Source: University of Toronto Press
Marketing Manager
10 St. Mary Street
Suite 700
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2W8,
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: A general examination of legally defined features of marital relations in late 19th-century and early 20th-century Ontario provides the contextual framework for an exploration of marital violence during this period.
Abstract: In a preliminary discussion of some of the more salient aspects of wife abuse, one of the harshest manifestations of a husband's real or perceived proprietary rights, this paper specifies the circumscribed legal options available to battered wives and how married women have struggled to articulate and assert their ambiguously defined right not to be abused or beaten by their husbands. The paper also provides an alternative perspective on the qualitative nature of marital relations by focusing not only on the hierarchical relations of domination and subordination within the family unit, but also on some of the potential sources of tensions and antagonisms between husbands and wives. The author advises that the ambiguous definitions of the law and the practices of the courts left unquestioned the underlying unequal distribution of power and privilege that structured relations between husbands and wives. Instances of wife abuse revealed how economic vulnerability, together with the often ineffective yet prevalent mediatory efforts of the legal system, left unchallenged the sexual hierarchy that continued to undergird and define the marital unit. 74 notes
Main Term(s): Victims of violent crime
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Domestic assault; Foreign laws; Spouse abuse causes; Women's rights
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