Consent, marriage and sexual violence in 17th century Dublin: The abduction of Mary Ware
Dulcie Hollyock Room, Ground Floor
T: (03) 8344 4079
Dianne Hall's research interests are in histories of violence, gender, religion and memory with a particular focus on the Irish both in medieval and early modern Ireland and in the modern Irish diaspora. She is also interested in the connections between 19th century ideas about race and Irishness.
In this seminar Dianne will explore the experience of fifteen-year-old Mary Ware who in 1668, was abducted from the streets of Dublin by an acquaintance, James Shirley, and a group of his friends, imprisoned and then raped in order to force her to marry her abductor. On her return to Dublin she escaped and immediately started legal proceedings to charge her attacker with rape, making a statement denying she had consented to the marriage.
Mary’s relative and a leading Dublin jurist, Dudley Loftus, published an erudite paper with strongly worded arguments on the nature of a woman’s consent when faced with the fear of sexual assault. Taken together Loftus’ pamphlet and Mary Ware’s testimony give interesting insights into 17th century legal reasoning on the nature of consent, fear and sexual assault among the elite in Protestant Ireland.
This is a seminar in the series presented by the Melbourne Feminist History Group.