Infantacide, Sexual Assault and Abduction in 18th Century Ireland Sample Essay

This essay as the rubric suggests purposes to cover with the phenomenon of infanticide. abduction and sexual assault in Eighteenth century Ireland. Each will be dealt with in their ain right and this essay will besides put out to discourse what these phenomena revealed about the patriarchal order that obtained in eighteenth-century Ireland. In the instance of Infanticide. adult females were frequently forced to come to this despairing decision due to the manner an bastard kid would impact their lives. Not merely would id destruct all opportunities of a adult female prosecuting in an advantageous matrimony but it would besides put on the line the immature adult female being thrown out of her diggingss. losing her occupation. ( if she had one ) and raising a kid that would be discriminated against from birth. She would be wholly marginalized and disregarded for the remainder of her life. In most instances. the adult female had small or no support from the male involved. peculiarly if the babe was conceived by manner of sexual assault. Infanticide was ever deemed a woman’s offense but one wonders is this as a direct correlativity to the fact that most work forces involved merely didn’t want to cognize.

We see in these instances that once more work forces held the reigns and although were every bit involved in the construct bore none of the stigma or incrimination. Second this essay will go on to discourse the grounds of a patriarchal society through sexual assault. Assault at the clip was a common issue in which adult females were taken from streets. topographic points of work or any other mercantile establishment and raped or sexually assaulted by one or a group of males. The adult female although through no mistake of her ain. was in many instances deemed unfit for a favorable brotherhood and so limited in her options later in life. The monetary value of a hubby was a dowery and the maidens virginity. Without one a adult female held small hope of procuring a hubby of their position or above. Some adult females even conceded to get marrieding their kidnappers to avoid the humiliation of a tribunal test. In these instances we once more see the patriarchal order that prevailed in Irish society. A adult female was deserving really small if her honor was non integral and although a adult female who was raped did non damage her honor herself she was still non pure and therefore an unsuitable matrimony spouse. Work force on the other manus could deliver lost honour rather easy through duelling.

Work force could besides acquire off with prosecution if a adult female had been known to hold consumed intoxicant on the dark of the assault. if she did non come frontward rapidly after consent was suspected. if she refused to either hold an intimate medical scrutiny to turn out colza or take the base and undergo an embarrassing and through cross scrutiny. Third this essay will travel onto the phenomenon of abduction. Abduction was a common happening in which a adult male or group of work forces abducted a immature inheritress. forced her to get married them or sexually assaulted her. If a miss was forced into matrimony the groom was entitled to a proportion of her wealths. peculiarly if the matrimony was consummated afterwards. In the instance of assault. if a adult female was sexually assaulted by an kidnapper she was frequently encouraged to get married him anyhow as her opportunities of procuring a brotherhood as a consequence were slender. Work force saw these affluent adult females as chances. They knew how to hedge prosecution and procure an highly advantageous matrimony. These work forces cared small for the rights of the adult female and thought merely of how they could profit from the abduction.

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This essay will seek to analyze how men’s attitudes and actions at the clip were greatly influenced by their place in this patriarchal society. Womans were seen as objects and small more. They were attractive to a male merely for their wealth and honor. When taken from them adult females held small or no position in society. These phenomena show clearly that a patriarchal order obtained in Irish society. That is non to state that adult females were non cared for. in many instances adult females were protected by work forces and were seen as delicate animals who needed to be sheltered from the dangers in society. It is when we discuss the rights of the adult female and her place in society we see through cases like this that adult females were for the most portion objects. and bore small weight in society. In Eighteenth century Ireland. infanticide was an progressively common issue. At a clip when a woman’s virtuousness was worth more than her life. an unexplained prenuptial gestation was non easy overlooked. A adult female who became a individual female parent leting her sexual history be known non merely destruct all chances of prosecuting in an advantageous matrimony but besides weakened her place and that of her household in society.

Known chiefly as a woman’s offense. infanticide tended to be carried out by individual female parents who ashamed of the find of their bad luck. determined to avoid the stigma of immorality and the load of raising a kid the jurisprudence deemed ‘illegitimate’ by flinging the merchandise of their sexual activity. This idealisation of feminine honor was the cause of many tragic instances of infanticide. If a woman’s repute was in inquiry in any manner was deemed an unsuitable matrimony spouse. Whereas a adult male who injured his repute from a failed affaire d’honneur could deliver himself effortlessly through a subsequent show of courage. if a woman’s repute was non above intuition they were to stay penalized and excluded. In this instance the patriarchal nature of society is clearly apparent in that a woman’s value was based entirely on her honor and without it she had nil. This of class was non the same for a adult male who could prosecute in several sexual activities and still anticipate a desirable matrimony spouse. It is good documented that the huge majority of the load of social disapproval of sexual evildoing in 18th century Ireland was directed at adult females.

The issue of infanticide continued throughout the 18th century. Not merely did adult females who fell pregnant hazard fring all position in society and any opportunity of a good brotherhood. the menace to their well-being and current life style was acute. Anticipant individual female parents were really frequently turned out onto the streets by land Godheads with small or no respect for their well-being which sometimes had fatal effects. non merely was the individual female parent marginalized but the ‘illegitimate’ kid was besides discriminated against lawfully and socially victimized. A adult female who was evicted from her place with a socially marginalized kid was non in a easy state of affairs. peculiarly given that raising a kid at this clip was hard for an mean household was hard as most grownups were pressed to do ends meet. In society at the clip a adult male could walk off from a individual female parent with non obligation what so of all time. go forthing the adult female in this delicate province. Womans who were peculiarly susceptible to sexual progresss and who had rather a batch to lose if found to be pregnant were adult females in service. Womans who worked as retainers frequently aimed to salvage up adequate money to vouch themselves a lucifer to procure them for life.

Although male and female retainers were bound by a serious codification of behavior the service was besides a topographic point of heightened sexual enticement. Masters. their boies and other male retainers frequently times took advantage of the female retainers unstable place. Not merely did extra-marital gestation guarantee dishonorable dismissal it about guaranteed immiseration. Knowing that the prevalent attitude towards adulterous sex and ‘illegitimate’ kids was unforgiving. a retainer from the lower ranks of society in this state of affairs was in a serious quandary. Any adult female in employment. retainer or otherwise. faced about certain dismissal from work. ejection from place and wretchedness if her status became public. the important figure of retainers peculiarly who committed infanticide suggests that Masterss their boies and other male retainers were rather frequently to fault.

Due to the nature of the patriarchal society of Ireland it was non them who held the load. research suggests that although infanticide was considered a woman’s offense this is significantly due to the deficiency of engagement in the gestation at all by the male responsible and the reverberations of the women’s determination if they did take to hold the kid. There are many instances where work forces were involved in the premature and ill-timed decease of their ain kid but their rareness suggests that the bulk of work forces merely didn’t privation to cognize. The adult females who did nevertheless commit infanticide and were caught were in no better place than those who chose to raise the kid. Harmonizing to Anne O’ Connor. The fact that an ‘unwanted babe was deprived of a baptism. and hence of an everlastingly blissful hereafter. was the cardinal issue of concern in Irish common people tradition. ’ the patriarchal nature of society meant that once more adult females suffered the effects of their actions and the grounds for making so were ne’er taken into history. Unless a adult male was involved in the slaying of the kid it was immaterial who the male parent was and one time once more they would be acquitted of any duty.

Womans on the other manus were seen as ‘bloody and cold monsters’ and ‘unnatural female parents. There are many other issues apparent in the 18th century that reveal rather a batch about the patriarchal order that obtained. For one the issue of sexual assault is highly stating of the place of adult females in society. Womans in 18th century Ireland lived in fright of force and sexual force chiefly. Their freedom was highly limited and a adult female who wished to avoid sexual onslaught was advised non to travel into ‘the darkness of mist. the darkness of wood and the darkness of night’ unsupervised. Those who were unfortunate plenty to digest the painful offense of sexual assault were left scorned and with small hope of procuring an advantageous brotherhood. As virginity was seen as the lone appropriate province for an single adult female ( except for widows ) . a adult female who‘s virtuousness has been impugned whether through her ain or person else’s mistake. was tarnished in the oculus of society and this made her less than a desirable matrimony spouse for most work forces of her ain state of affairs.

In an effort to salve what they could of their repute many adult females came frontward in the hopes of prosecuting whomever was involved. A adult female was allowed up to forty yearss to alarm the governments of colza though prompt coverage was advised as any privacy implies a consent before the fact. Furthermore a adult female was expected to shout out and utilize her extreme strength to defy. if it could be shown that she did neither the instance against her attacker would be commensurately weakened. If a adult female did do it to tribunal she was to anticipate an highly thorough and rather awkward cross scrutiny in which she would be required to supply confidant and often abashing inside informations of the assault to turn out that incursion and interjection did take topographic point. This along side a physical scrutiny to procure grounds of hurt feature of colza was besides required. Although prosecution was non wholly uncommon and work forces were frequently charged and sentenced to decease. a woman’s repute was still tarnished and many could non bare the embarrassment they would be put through if they did make up one’s mind to prosecute ‘the prosecution of a colza is …attended with such a flooring scrutiny that some adult females would instead decease than travel through with it. ’

If it could be proved that a adult female had consumed any intoxicant the opportunities of the male being found guilty were slender. In society at the clip it was seen as a adult males responsibility to support adult females who were described as ‘this most delicious portion of… creative activity [ who are ] … from the daintiness of their frames highly incapacitated. ’ This non merely contradicts the huge figure of colza instances in 18th century Ireland but besides contradicts the position that a woman’s repute was tarnished even through no mistake of her ain. Man saw adult female as this beautiful delicate animal they most protect but if that animal is deflowered by any cause they are. a batch of the clip. non deserving protection. Women in matrimony were expected to subject to any sexual progresss of their hubby and no legal resort if she alleged sexual assault by her hubby. Similarly if a adult male married a adult female who he had antecedently assaulted. he could get away prosecution. ‘in the instances of colza which concluded in matrimony the governments were disinclined to take any action. ’

Womans in marrigae were the belongings of their hubbies. Unless asked to take portion in ‘unnatural’ Acts of the Apostless they had no legal standing. A adult female as references who had lost her honor had small pick when it came to marriage and therefore get marrieding her aggressor may turn out to be lone option. This shows clearly how male dominated society was and the emotional mental and physical hurting endured by a adult female due to sexual assault of any sort was 2nd to her place and matrimonial chances. The monetary value of a hubby was the dowery a misss male parent could afford and her virginity. One without the other did non do good for the adult female involved. The patriarchal order of society was besides clearly apparent in the turning figure of instances of sexual assault affecting military forces. Due to the solidarity the edge soldiers together and the persistently high degree of aversion between civilians and military. soldiers were inclined to assist each other screen up their offenses and to turn a blind oculus if one of their figure sought to fulfill his sexual desires on the organic structure of an unwilling female passerby.

These work forces who were sworn to protect civilians. male and female alike had small respect for the effects of their actions and though merely of carry throughing their ain passions. This once more shows the place of adult females in society as objects instead than people. It is obvious from grounds that work forces did non see adult females as there peers. and they most surely did non handle them as such. What is irrefutable is that this sexual force created an environment in which adult females were non able to work free of fright. Womans once more were victimized and belittled one time once more. The patriarchal order of Irish society ensured adult females knew what their value was and had them populating in fright of staining their repute. Another go oning issue in 18th centaury Ireland was that of Abduction. ‘Abduction or forcibly transporting off or inheritresss. was another of those shouting immoralities which once afflicted Ireland. ’

The abduction of Heiresses was a widespread phenomenon in which a adult male or group of work forces would kidnap a known inheritress. take her to an agreed location where a priest would be waiting and have a matrimony materialize. The matrimony would so be consummated and the miss in many instances would hold small other pick than to stay with the kidnapper therefore get marrieding them into her family’s wealth. In other instances of abduction. the miss would hold been instantly sexually assaulted and due to her loss of artlessness in many cases she would be advised or forced to get married her kidnapper. Some kidnappers would non hold been sexually assaulted the adult females they chose but holding a adult female in a room entirely with a adult male for a long period of clip caused adequate intuition that she would non be eligible for a advantageous matrimony. Abduction was seen as a really attractive strategy in order for a adult male to affect himself in a good brotherhood.

This epidemic shows clearly that work forces at the clip cared small for a woman’s sentiments or rights and saw an inheritress as an chance instead than a human. By 1707 physical abduction became a capital felony and preventive steps came in to being to suppress kidnappers basking their married womans belongings. Unfortunately these steps were non all successful. Those involved in abduction realized that if a adult female abducted a adult male he was non punishable. For illustration if a adult female was placed before a adult male on their Equus caballus the kidnapper may hedge penalty as it seems less forced. The figure of prosecutions was starkly less than the figure of offenses as the bulk of adult females involved reconciled with their violators. In the South of Ireland an association began entitled ‘The abduction club’ in which the members ‘bound themselves by an curse to help in transporting off of such immature adult females as were fixed upon by any members. ’ This type of organisation merely confirms how low in position adult females were in this patriarchal society.

These work forces would supervise the motions of an inheritress in order to strike at the most optimal clip. In these state of affairss work forces sought merely to progress their place in society by get marrieding into wealth and though small of the rights of the adult female. As Walsh provinces. ‘opulent husbandmans every bit good as the aristocracy were capable to these battles with the clubs’ demoing that the work forces were non ever concerned with how affluent the adult female was but were happy to kidnap a adult female who could get wealth of any sort. This casual attitude to the matrimonial rights of a adult female show clearly the patriarchal order that obtained in Eighteenth century Ireland. This essay has tackled the three issues of infanticide. sexual assault and abduction and what it reveals about the patriarchal order that obtained in 18th century Ireland. In the instance of infanticide. adult females who found themselves in the state of affairs where they were to be a individual female parent faced a immense figure of issues. For one. adult females were in many instances thrown out of their diggingss if they fell pregnant.

They besides risked losing their occupations if they were working. The big figure of infanticide instances apparent among servant adult females suggest that these adult females feared losing the lone support they had. Besides if adult females went through with the gestation they were at hazard of being significantly marginalised and their kids were widely discriminated against. Infanticide was ever seen as a woman’s offense. although work forces were sometimes involved. Research suggests that the ground work forces tended non to be involved as they did non desire to be. A individual female parent in 18th century Ireland took all the incrimination for her state of affairs and for the decease of the kid if it was to take topographic point. The males involved could go forth the adult female in inquiry with small or no duty. This shows how the patriarchal order treated adult females. a woman’s value was her honor and wealth. If her honor was compromised she was non a suited matrimony spouse. A male on the other manus could recover their honor through duelling. Second this essay dealt with the phenomenon of sexual assault.

In 18th century Ireland adult females lived in fright of sexual assault in any scene. Womans who were sexually assaulted were although through no mistake in her ain. ‘damaged goods’ as it were. The monetary value of a hubby in 18th century Ireland was a dowery and the brides virginity. Without her honor integral she was non suited for work forces of her standing. In an effort to deliver themselves some adult females chose to prosecute. these adult females had to travel through an intimate physical scrutiny and an highly thorough and abashing cross scrutiny. Men were of class frequently found guilty if there was sufficient grounds but due to the nature of the test many adult females feared the procedure. Some of these adult females were advised to get married the adult male who assaulted them as they were less likely to prosecute in a good brotherhood. Work force who married their victims besides wholly at large prosecution.

Last this essay aimed to discourse the phenomenon of abduction and what it revealed about the patriarchal order that obtained in 18th century Ireland. Abduction of inheritresss was non uncommon. Work force saw these affluent adult females as chances and non as worlds with rights. Womans were taken against their will. and married to an unknown adult male. If the matrimony was consummated the adult female had small pick for matrimony after the fact. We see through all of these phenomena that adult females were seen as objects and non a individual with rights. Although work forces did put out to protect the adult females in their lives there was no denying that a woman’s value was her honor and her wealth and small else affairs. Through this essay we have discussed three major issues that prevailed in 18th century Ireland. Men although the cause of each of these issues seldom dealt with the effects. In many instances work forces benefited from their actions through get marrieding a affluent adult female. one who was of a higher position so they. The patriarchal order was really clear in every twenty-four hours life at the clip but it was highly clear in these peculiar phenomena.


Harrison. Alan. Ross Campbell. Ian and Carpenter. Andrew. Eighteenth Century
Ireland ( Dublin 1995 ) Kelly. James. Irish Economic and Social History ( Dublin 1991 ) McCurtain Margaret and O’Dowd Mary. Women in Early Modern Ireland ( Edinborough 1990 ) Walsh. Edward John. Rakes and Ruffians: The underworld of Georgian Dublin ( Dublin 1979 ) Counell. K. H. Irish provincial society ( Dublin 1996 )

[ 1 ] . James Kelly. ‘A Most cold and brutal piece of villainy’ : An geographic expedition of the offense of colza in Eighteenth Century Ireland in Alan Harrison. Ian Campbell Ross and Andrew Carpenter. Eighteenth Century Ireland ( Dublin 1995 ) . p 78 [ 2 ] . James Kelly. ‘Infanticide in early Eighteenth century Ireland’ in Irish Economic and societal history ( Dublin 1991 ) . p 7 [ 3 ] . Kelly. Infanticide in Economic and societal

[ 5 ] . Kelly. Infanticide in Economic and societal history. p 8 [ 6 ] . ibid
[ 8 ] . Kelly. Infanticide in Economic and societal history. p 12 [ 9 ] . ibid. P 17
[ 10 ] . Anne O’Connor. Women in Irish folklore: the testimony sing bastardy. abortion and infanticide in Margaret McCurtain and Mary O’ Dowd. Women in early modern Ireland ( Edinborough 1990 ) . p 309 [ 11 ] . Kelly. Infanticide in Economic and societal history. p 19 [ 12 ] . Kelly. An geographic expedition of the offense of colza. in Harrison. Ross and Carpenter. Eighteenth century Ireland. P 105 [ 13 ] . ibid. P 80
[ 16 ] . Kelly. An geographic expedition of the offense of colza. in Harrison. Ross and Carpenter. Eighteenth century Ireland. P 89 [ 17 ] . ibid
[ 21 ] . Kelly. An geographic expedition of the offense of colza. in Harrison. Ross and Carpenter. Eighteenth century Ireland. P 89 [ 22 ] . ibid. 102
[ 24 ] . John Edward Walsh. Rakes and Ruffians: The underworld of Georgian Dublin ( Dublin 1979 ) . p 32 [ 25 ] . Walsh. Rakes and Ruffians. p
[ 27 ] . Walsh. Rakes and Ruffians. p 33


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