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University of Waterloo
Social Development Studies
SDS 353R
Catherine Briggs

Early 20 century change and continuity in family values and law (Increased intervention in family life family violence) • Growing concerns about family stability – Concern about impact on marriage and family life (instability and social change) – Idealize marriage (necessary for important functions of family and forms a family ) • Marital Breakdown? (Concern increases dramatically) • Heightened by the reality of ww1, presents significant challenges – Death toll – Destabilize families and women left to fulfill a lot of roles that men had – Young male population either death or incapacitated in some way • Implications are significant (families with out fathers, economic wellbeing, young women not getting married because of shortage of males) • 1930s 10 year long depression, challenges faced by families (economic distress) • Concern that family is destabilizing and turning away from marriage and social destabilization th Divorce rates rising by early 20 century – 1890s -12 per year – 1900s -26.3 per year – 1910s -54.6 per year • Certain parts of the depression, divorces increased; steadily increasing • Marriage rate; 1932, 1933 marriage rate was going down because the worst parts of the depression, unemployment rate very high • 1939, 1940, 1942; second ww because men went to go fight in the trenches • • Marriage “ideal” – Marriage of family formation; moral and stable nation • Moral basis of the nation – Continues to be espoused – Prevents federal divorce reform – Old British law of adultery – Making divorce more accessible and equitable • Other MPs opposing these bills to maintain divorce difficult to attain and maintain family stability and moral stability • Family ideal – Increased intervention in family and in the rights of husbands/fathers – Empower the government and society as a whole to intervene in family more they did in the past – Social stability of roles of families – Family itself was seen as private before so that others can not intervene • Husband would run the house as he saw fit • Wife Abuse – Husband and wife weird more as partners and companions (equal) – Roles that are complementary – Public policies impact homes and women have a say in how it affects their home – Women rights (free of violence) – Reluctant to grant divorces on basis of cruelty • Judicial treatment of abuse in NS Divorce: – Maintain marital union and male authority • Cruelty viewed as less serious marital offence • Not a threat to the marital union • Make it seem as if wife should be gentle to her husband • Male shouldn’t harm wife but can have discipline • Sustain the male right of discipline • Many people started challenging this • Very strict evidentiary requirement (degree of abuse) • To the point where it is a threat to the marital union • Physical illness and mental distress • No ability to perform marital obligations • Can not function; marriage is not fulfilling its obligation ( can not reconstitute itself) Judicial treatment of abuse in NS: Growing adoption of ideal of companionate marriage • Opposition to violence and belief in women’s need of protection • Grant a separation in cases of abuse • Legal definition of cruelty expanded to include sexual abuse of Wives • Less evidentiary requirements • Less for middle class women because of perception of gentle and weak • Working women; more rougher (need more evidence) • Criminal Law provisions 1892 & 1909 • WIFE Abuse AND CRIMINAL LAW – Marital rape wasn’t included in law till 1984 – In court case: women can decide when they will take part in sexual relations – Alcohol abuse and beating the women – The other legal avenue, charge their husband with assault causing bodily harm – 1909; criminal offence to assault and beat his wife – wife abuse; lobbying (temperance) – protecting of children; to create a legal avenue • Attitudes to Wife Abuse – Patriarchal belief in right of husbands to correction • Primary defense: correcting the wife’s mistakes • Max sentence is 3 years for men (early 20 century) • Usually small fines and bonds if there were no further instances reported (don’t wanna put in jail because they think the family will fall apart and cant prepare all the functions like work and pay for bills ect • Committed some marital offence • Case of lena gallaway: sleeping with other men (beat her and tied her to the bed) – Privacy of family life – Acceptance of physical violence in marriage • Less acceptance of violence – Why did wives press charges? • Raising intolerance of violence • Indirectly putting themselves in a bad financial position if they do it through the courts because then her husband will go to jail (no money because they husband males more money ) • Growing concern about social problems and family stability – Custody – Improvement of child’s psychology from childhood – Eugenics – darwin’s theories of evolution • Changing ideas about childhood and child welfare – How family impacts children’s behavior – Superior race (English) than others • Lead to Increased intervention in family life and parenting: – Development of Child Protection Laws and Institutions • Theories that lead to make sure that children do no turn how their parents are ( prostitutes, alcoholics) • Volunteer reform organizations (but upper class people got away with it) – Focus on the “underclass” • Factories (for children) at very young age • “Protective” laws introduced by late 19 th • Laws to enforce parental care and protect children from abuse and neglect – Child Protection Act (Ontario 1888) – Children’s Aid Society (1888) • Neglect or abuse towards children • Lobby governments to introduce laws that will empower them to protect children as much as they do (JJ Kelso) • Happened in Ontario because it was very industrial – Juvenile Delinquents Act (Federal 1908) • Industrial school (children who committed acts or didn’t have families would go there) • Criminalizing parents that are violent to their children • Remove children in cases in neglect of children • Given to the Children’s Aid Society by the courts and legal guardianship gets transferred to them. • Children who committed crime go to youth courts where empathizes on reform. • If engaging in behaviours that are problematic doesn’t have to be criminal (they still go to court) they want to reform them • Gambling, drinking, sexual relations, loitering, not going to school, • Go to childrens aid society • Child Welfare System: – The environmental part has an effect on the child – Blend of criminal, civil, and welfare – To deal with delinquency, neglect, and abuse – To enable children to grow up to be productive citizens and fulfill “normal” family roles • Concepts of delinquency and neglect – Environment and Nature • Probation vs. Removal of Child – Want probation CAS will work with them – Foster homes would be the next preferred step Sexual Abuse (protect them from sexual threats – seduction) • Example: The ideal of the privacy and authority of the family VS. state intervention in interests of child welfare • Law and legal context (incest laws ) – 1892 – prohibited “sexual intercourse” and “cohabitation” between parents, grandparents, children, brothers and sisters – CHILD WLL HAVE A DEFICINCY – Charges can only be laid if sexual intercourse has occurred • Child welfare and eugenic concerns • Application of the law – Focus on intercourse and age of the “victim” • Reluctance to prosecute by families and victims – shame and humiliation – Child may not come forward till later and may not be credible • Difficult to get of conviction – Hide reality because court case stays with them through their life – Focus on “victim’s” moral character • Father presents himself that he is a good man (goes to church) then they will believe him more. – Little concept of power imbalance in sexual abuse – Focus on father’s “respectability” – Punishment of the “victim” • Marriage Law (concept of prohibited degrees) and Incest/Sexual Abuse Laws originate in Church laws/principles – 1563, Archbishop Parker drew up a table of prohibited marriages – Basis for laws in British colonies (similar in Quebec civil law) • Remained the law until 1990 when Federal government clarified -- Marriages (Prohibited Degrees) Act • Twin (Brother/Sister) NO • Creepy Uncle Bob YES • Youthful Grandmother NO • Stepbrother YES • Biological Mother (who gave you up for adoption) NO • Adopted Mother NO • Family Dog NO • Adopted Sister from China NO • Former Stepchild YES • Your Sister’s Child (once grown up) YES • Former Husband’s Dad YES • Half-sister NO • First Cousin YES Marriage and Family in 1950s and 1960s Divorce Reform Post WWII – revival of “marriage ideal” - why? o Advice Column shows (how families should operate) - Instability of family life (since 1930s) o Financial crisis caused instability o During wwii woman started working and took on roles that men did (married woman and women with children) o Challenged the psychology of gender roles that were in place o Instability since wwi o 1932 worst year of the depression people weren’t getting married (marriage rates dropped) o during war time more marriages so that can be married before going to war (1946) - Marriage rate - Divorce Rate o Is on the rise o Limited due to limited grounds o 1945 o some marriages strained by he long separation and experience of war and influenced by infidelity of over the course of war o still inaccessible till 1968 (not the best representation because does not include self divorce, separation, desertion) Marriage and families in 1950s and 1960s - change in marriage and family o 1950s during baby boom and further changes that came o additionall changes that are guna allow furthermore change families - Raising affluence o Very good economic times (economic boom) o Home ownership was easier due to more wealth o Improvement in standard of living o Too busy trying to survive - Higher education o Further create conditions to start to look towards change and fix things that are not working o More average education receive high school education and they also get post secondary education - Rights movements o Civil rights and movements (1945) o Second waves od women’s movement o Laws to protect women - liberalization of values and morals o Large number of Canadians rejected the idea that they wanted to limit the expression of sexual behavior o Rejection of authoritarianism Factors of divorce reform - opposition to divorce pre 1960s o limited reform of divorce in 20s and 30s o supreme court jurisdiction over divorce (based on adultery alone) o 1925 – got rid of the double standards adultery equal for men and women o PEI NOVA (have less limited provisions) - divorce system not working: o limited grounds and high costs  reality is marital breakdown is happening and is increasing  divorce system is not working because it casuing people to choose alternate forms of marital breakup  difficulty of getting a divorce is not stopping people from getting a divorce o increase in desertion, separation, common law unions, bigamy  increase in desertion is still a problem and mothers can not afford to take care of their children  common law union (can not get divorce so just live with the new man) o social, economic problems resulting o divorce rate rising Factors for Divorce Reform - Problems of Marital Breakdown - - maintenance acts – provide support payments to deserted or destitute wives and children - Problems within senate divorce committee o Cumbersome process, bogged down by rising divorces and lack of support Support for Divorce Reform - NDP – 1962-63 filibuster to force reform - Reveals strong societal support: o To alleviate problems of marital breakdown o Growing belief that marital breakdown should be grounds for divorce  Not only adultery; think of valid reasons to end marriage - Media argues for expanded grounds - Churches? – Roman Catholic Church position o They didn’t approve - Women’s movement o Number of positions on divorce reform o Expansion of grounds in divorce law (cruelty, any form of violence) o The shady lady: helped get divorce as being the lady who the husband had an affair with o Marriage ideal is still strongly held and do not want to let go of it o Desertion, mental illness on husband, sleeping with someone else, violence o Second wave of the woman’s movement, greater access to divorce (make it easier to get one) Support for Divorce Reform: - voice of average Canadians (letters to show impact on existing divorce situation) o support for expanded grounds and means for divorce o marital breakdown as sufficient grounds  there doesn’t need to be a fault or problem (breakdown is a good reason to end the marriage) more than enough of a reason  individualism o commitment to marriage and family  marriage is a serious union and means of raising a family in a productive way is still in tact  this idea is still valued (cant just keep choosing different men) o divorce reform to strengthen marriage and family values  it is the means to end unhappy and dysfunctional marriages  form into better marriages and more healthy relationships  new marriage can fulfill the duty of marriage  moral repudness and social shame: forced into the position of having to commit adultery  considered the possibility to committing adultery that can free them from the marriage that has lost marriage Divorce Act 1968 (federal law now) - accepted concept of marital breakdown - retained concept of guilty party (one party is at fault) - processed through court system by trial - matrimonial offence grounds o adultery, unnatural acts( sodomy, bestiality, rape, homosexual acts), forms of marriage with another, physical and mental cruelty - permanent marriage breakdown by: o imprisonment, alcohol or narcotic addiction, non consumption, separation, petitioners desertion, whereabouts of spouse unknown o must have 3 year separation o last solution Further Challenges for Equity in Family Law - properly law o separate property rights of early 20 century  before it was all controlled by men  women had separate property rights and now  higher status and more control of areas that impacted on them o need for reform – why?  Irene Murdoch case  Was a homemaker and took care of the children  In 1968 her husband (farmer) broke her jaw, she claimed a share of the family ranch when she applied for divorce.
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