SOSC 1350 Study Guide - Final Guide: In Essence, Battered Person Syndrome, Coverture
Course CodeSOSC 1350
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Exam review #1
By: Angelica Lu
In his highly influential Commentaries on the Laws of England, William Blackstone wrote: “The
husband also (by the old law) might give his wife moderate correction. For, as he to answer for
her misbehaviour, the law thought it reasonable to entrust him with the power of restraining her,
by domestic chastisement, in the same moderation that a man is allowed to correct his servants or
children, for whom the master or parent is also liable in some cases to answer.
Describe how the doctrine of coverture was adopted in Canadian law. Outline the historical
evolution of the legal treatment of intimate partner violence, marriage and divorce. Finally,
consider whether any of the maxims described by Blackstone remain true today, and specify why
or why not.
Introduction: William Blackstone states that a husband is given the right to “correct” his wife
for her misbehaviour by using the “rule of thumb”. In other words, the law allows husbands to
beat their wives as long as the stick is no longer than a thumb.
Thesis: The historical evolution of legal treatment of intimate partner violence, marriage and
divorce have remained true today because violence against women still exist today, marriage is
turning women into property instead of considering them to be “persons” and women start to
become depended on their ex-spouses since economically.
Paragraph 1: Working class women are more likely to stay in a abusive relationship because
they do not have the money to move out. As well, the services offered, like shelters, are being cut
because the government simply cannot afford to pay all of the services needed for the working
class. Since these women are not able to financially get out of an abusive relationship, they are
likely to be violently and sexually abused even more and have a higher chance of being
murdered by their abusive spouse.
Examples: In the year 1990, the case R. v. Lavallee, is about Lavallee who killed her abusive
spouse and stated it was self defence, therefore introduce Battered Women Syndrome (BWS). In
this case, her abusive spouse gave her the gun and told her to kill him or he will kill her later that
night, therefore, Lavallee shot him in the back. This represents how women are viewed to be the
“problem” instead of the victim because women are seen to be suffering from BWS. In other
words, the BWS does not demonstrate that women are the victims in abusive relationship but
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