The legitimacy of intimate partner violence was impacted by the introduction of early laws in America. Before introducing the laws on intimate partner violence, women were allowed to be beaten for corrective purposes. Some courts in America, for instance, in North Carolina, failed to acknowledge violence caused to women by their spouses unless the beating amounted to permanent injury. In ancient Roman society, a confessor, husband, or father viewed a female’s physical strength and intelligence as incomparable to men and was subjected to the hands of the male authority (Narro, 2018). During the post-revolution in American comprehension, the right to privacy was introduced to social institutions such as families where wives were abused for legal reformation that previously existed (Brannon, 2021). The emergence of the American laws has enabled women to be protected from domestic violence and made them champion their rights for equal treatment (Gosselin, 2018). The current text has analyzed the early American laws that resulted in the legitimacy of intimate partner violence.
The introduction of fines and jail terms for wife assaulters in the American West, also known as the tort law doctrine, prevented excessive wife assault. California courts took this approach. Fines prevailed over peace bonds, and judges had the discretion to punish a battery committed on wives by the penal code. The punishment involved nothing less than twenty lashes on the bareback. According to Tylka (2021), wife assaulters in California in the late 1800s were further subjected to substantial fines to avoid being taken to prison.
During the rain of Romulus in Rome, the introduction of the rule of thumb mitigated wife-beating by their husbands. Wife beating was allowed and practiced under the Laws of Chastisement. However, the statute only allows a husband to assault the wife reasonably. As such, the rod used in beating the wife was not supposed to be larger than the base of a man’s right hand (AREH et al., 2021). In addition, a man was subjected to punishment for violating the rule of thumb.
The old English common law allowed wife-beating for correctional resolutions. The law permitted husbands to whip their wives anytime they were found on the wrong side. The punishment involved whipping with a switch no bigger than the thumb of the husband (Eduardovich 2021). Further, the punishment to the wife was allowed to an extent it did not cause permanent injury. However, a woman was also allowed security and peace against an offensive husband.
Mississippi Supreme Court permitted husbands to administer moderate chastisement. The husband was acknowledged as the master of the household. As such, the wife could be subjected to corporal punishment whenever a need arose for correction. Further, the American courts continued to overlook the wife’s domestic abuse despite the reforms made to prevent the husband from the chastisement of their wives (Hannah-Jones 2019). Overall, men who abused their wives were granted formal and informal protection from prosecution to maintain domestic harmony.
Conclusively, as discussed in the text above, the rule of thumb and the involvement of the Mississippi Supreme Court on intimate partner violence prevented excessive abuse of women by their spouses. Moreover, husbands were head of the family. As such, they were legally right to correct their wives mainly by whipping reasonably. However, some early courts in America overlooked domestic violence cases compared to other cases.
AREH, C. E., Ajah, B. O., Ezeanya, O. C., EZE, A. U., Onwuchekwe, S. I., & Onyejegbu, C. D. (2021). The Troubling Epidemic of Wife-Battering in Ogbaru and Onitsha North Local Government Areas of Anambra State, Nigeria. International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, 10, 1349-1361.
Brannon, R. (2021). Loyalists and the American Revolution. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History.
Eduardovich, A. K. (2021). The policy of Catholic Monarchs and Popes in the New World on the Christianization of the population and the policy of local authorities (1492-1513). Samara Scientific Bulletin, 10(1), 230-236.
Gosselin, D. (2018). Family and intimate partner violence: Heavy hands, 6th edition (2019). Web.
Hannah-Jones, N. (2019). Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true. The New York Times.
Narro, Á. (2018). Domestic violence against women as a reason to sanctification in Byzantini hagiography.
Tylka, B. (2021). Getting to Tarasoff: A Gender-Based History of Tort Law Doctrine. Cal. Legal Hist., 16, 237.