Thursday, September 15, 2011

Domestic Violence was Not “Tolerated by Society” in the Bad Old Pre-Feminism Days - Judge Richard T. Tuthill, Chicago, 1907


The commonly heard claim that domestic violence was – previous to the rise of feminism in the 1960s – was accepted by society and was not taken seriously by police and the courts is false. The evidence is overwhelming that the claim, which seems to have been concocted in the mid-1980s, is a hoax, yet it is constantly repeated as if it were not proved wrong. Here is an early example of a text which  promotes this myth:

“The policy of benign neglect toward domestic violence was tolerated until feminists began focusing attention on the issue of spouse abuse a decade ago and insisted that wife beaters be treated like other violent criminals. The nation's police have finally begun to take domestic violence seriously.”  (“Attitudes change toward domestic violence,” Newsweek, March 3,  1986; Vol. 107 Issue 9, p. 58)

For extensive contradictory evidence see:


 
The following articles reveal; just how strong social condemnation of domestic violence against women really was in the early 1900s, as expressed by a prominent judge, Richard T. Tuthill.

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FULL TEXT: Chicago, July 27. – The killing of husbands who beat their lives was advocated by Judge Tuthill in the course of the divorce suit tried before him today. Indignant at a woman’s description of the inhuman treatment to which she had been subjected by a man who claimed to be “her master” and aroused by statements that his abuse had taken place in the presence of men who would not interfere, Judge Tuthill declared that in extreme cases violence should be met with violence, no matter what its consequences.

“It is a woman’s duty either to kill a man or get away from him,” was the judge’s emphatic utterance.

The court also recommended that neighbors should rush in to a suffering wife’s rescue and assail the woman-beater with any missile or weapon to hand. He announced that any one who took such action would find a friend in him.


[“Kill Him or Leave Him – Judge Tuthill’s Advice To Woman Beaten By Spouse.” The Spokesman Review (Wa.), Jul. 30, 1907, p. 10]

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FULL TEXT: Chicago, July 27.—The killing of husbands who beat their wives was advocated by Judge Tuthill in the circuit court today, in the course of a case being tried before him. Indignant at a woman’s description of the inhuman treatment to which she had been subjected by the man who claimed to be “her master,” and aroused by statements that his abuse had taken place in the presence of men who would not interfere, Judge Tuthill declared that, “in extreme cases of violence should be met with violence, no matter what the consequences.”

“Whenever a brute of a man strikes a woman,” said Judge Tuthill, “it is the woman’s duty, if she can’t run away, to kill him. She has just as much right to self-defense as a man has and should use that right.”

[“‘Women Should Kill Men Who Strike Them’ - Chicago Judge Advocates Slaying of Wife-Beaters,” syndicated (AP), Jul. 28, 1907, p. 1]

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Note: The portraits of Judge Tuthill were taken from sources other than the newspaper articles the are attached to here.

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