You are cordially invited to luncheon with the Oneonta Faculty Convivium on Wednesday, February 17, noon to 1:00 p.m., in Le Café, Morris. April Harper, Associate Professor of History, will present a talk titled, “Changing Legal Approaches to Sex Crimes in 13th Century England: The Evidence of Domestic Violence Cases.”
Abstract: This presentation will focus on the dramatic changes that took place in the definition and prosecution of sex crimes in thirteenth-century England. The use of Roman Law in England after 1066 imposed Roman legal vocabulary and custom, including the use of the term raptus to describe any extramarital sex, including rape, abduction, adultery, and/or fornication. Women’s legal status as property meant that the idea of consent was not relevant; it was the seizure of another man’s (father or husband) property that was key to the legal case. However, secular law at this time functioned along side, and occasionally in opposition to, ecclesiastical law that defined marriage as a sacrament and so within the Church’s legal jurisdiction. This conflict resulted in a slow redefining of sex crimes and a gradual change in women’s status from property to individual, which has been hailed as a positive and transformative change. However, that change accompanied an unprecedented rise in cases of domestic and community violence. This presentation will examine the reasons behind this rise and its connection to the partial revocation of women’s legal status in 1285.
Seating is limited. To reserve a seat please call X2517 prior to February 15. Vegetarian meals are available.