Renaissance Law Regarding Women’s Rights

renaissance-womens-rights

During the Renaissance, rape was not recognized in the contextual mindscape that it is today. Rape was seen as a dishonorable stamp upon the family and the families name of the victim. If rape occurred, it was not uncommon for the offender to marry the victim, therefore making the act acceptable within the eyes of the family, the court, and as was thought at the time, in the eyes of God. Rape of a woman who was no longer a virgin was essentially considered not to be a crime, however rape of a woman who was a virgin, was considered to be very serious until sorted out. It was not uncommon for an aggressor to pay a dowry to the victim and her family so that she could marry another man, if the offender had no interest in marrying said victim. Dowries were considered unideal but an acceptable practice during this period. A daughters virginity being intact was viewed as a significant financial gain towards the women’s family as it was customary to receive a sizeable dowry when she became married. A notable historical example of this ideology is directly correlated to the incredibly talented Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, who was raped by a painter her father Orazio who was also a famous painter, commissioned to teach his daughter the art of sketching using proper perspective and dimension

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