‘For the Husband Is the Head of the Wife’: Ephesians 5
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Working from her long-term practice in law as a solicitor and more recently barrister in Australia, and earlier in England and Malaysia, Patmalar Ambikapathy Thuraisingham recounts the strong influence Roman law has had on the development of the common law as it applies in the UK, particularly England and Wales, and thence in British colonies. By reference to jurisprudential statis, she asks and answers the question of how criminal assault at home by husbands of their wives became embedded in the law, so as to uphold and compound discrimination against women and differential treatment between women and men. Legal, political, religious and public order systems in societies founded in the British tradition continue to fail in their proper role of actively promoting a non-violent culture and legal and religious values that should offer protection to women and children, to free them from assaults perpetrated breadwinners, she observes, locating the problem in the education of lawyers in the tradition of Chief Justice Hale and William Blackstone. Albeit these two are respected as jurisprudential doyens, their impact on the legal system has had profoundly detrimental consequences for women and children, providing too often absolution or at minimum support for violent husbands and fathers. Women’s role in law and society, at least in that part of the world deemed ‘western’, finds its foundation in law, customs and religious edicts of the past, which continue into the present, however secular society is said to be. Ending violence against women and children can come about only, she says, by addressing, acknowledging and renouncing this legal and cultural foundation.
KeywordsMarital Rape Canonical Rule Biblical Teaching Criminal Assault Norman Conquest
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