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2 The rape of the Sabines Sculpture de Giambolgona Photo duelt

3 as such atrocities are still prevalent today. The « Picasso and Masters » exhibition has just finished at the « Grand Palais » in Paris and on the occasion of International Womens day, which occurs on March 8th, I thought I would make a slide show about the Rape of the Sabines, one of the most famous myths about the foundation of Rome,

4 The first part is a reminder about the famous legend of the foundation of Rome, then in the second half there are comments about the paintings of artists from Domenico Morone to Pablo Picasso, while the third part is about modern day violence towards women.

5 First part The famous legend of the foundation of Rome (cf. Titus Livius and/or Plutarque) - Romulus and Rémus - The Rape of the Sabines - Talassius - The wars which follow - Tarpeia - Hersilia

6 Romulus et Rémus Procas, king of Alba Longa left his kingdom to his two sons, Amulius and Numitor, on condition that they each reigned one after the other, for a period of one year at a time. When the turn came to Numitor, Amulius refused to give up the throne to him and to prevent him from having any hope of future successors, he placed Numitors daughter Rhea Sylvia at the head of the Vestal Virgins. This should have condemned her to perpetual virginity, although it did not prevent her from having a secret liaison with the god Mars who seduced her. She later gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus. (Titus Livius ) Blanchard

7 When he heard the news, Amulius had her imprisoned and ordered the twins to be thrown into the Tiber. Fortunately, the river receded from the place where they were abandoned, and their cradle remained on dried land. A wolf, hearing their cries ran to them and fed them with her milk. Later a shepherd Faustulus found them and took them to his wife Acca Laurentia who brought them up. On becoming adults, these two brothers killed Amulius and reinstated their grandfather Numitor on the throne. (Titus Livius ) Charles de la Fosse

8 Then they gathered a great number of country people and founded a town to which both wanted to give their name. As they could not come to an agreement, they decided, that the one who saw the greatest number of vultures would win. Remus saw six and Romulus twelve. So their town, on the banks of the Tiber where they had been found, was called Rome after Romulus. Prefering to protect the town first by law before fortifying it with ramparts, Romulus ordered all his subjects not to cross over the fortifications he had built. Rémus having ridiculed these defences was forthwith killed by the centurion Fabius Celerius, so the legend says, with a blow from a spade. (Titus Livius )

9 Rome lacks women. Romulus offered asylum to all foreigners who wanted to join him. Soon he had quite a considerable army, but there was a noticeable absence of women for his soldiers. So Romulus sent envoys amongst the surrounding nations to ask for alliance and the right of intermarriage on behalf of his new community: Cities, they said, like everything else, spring from the humblest beginnings, and those who are helped on by their own courage and the favour of heaven win for themselves great power and great renown. As to the origin of Rome, it is well known that whilst it has received divine assistance, courage and self-reliance are not wanting. There should, therefore be no reluctance for men to mingle their blood with their fellow men. Nowhere did the envoys meet with a favourable reception. Whilst their proposals were treated with ridicule, there was at the same time a general feeling of alarm at the power so rapidly growing in their midst. Usually they were dismissed with the question: why had they not offered asylum to women? for nothing short of that would secure for them inter-marriage on equal terms. Romulus, disguised his resentment, and made elaborate preparations for the celebration of games in honour of `Equestrian Neptune,' which he called`the Consualia.' He ordered public notice of the spectacle to be given amongst the adjoining cities, and his people supported him in making the celebration as magnificent as their knowledge and resources allowed, so that expectations were raised to the highest pitch. There was a great gathering; people were eager to see the new City, all their nearest neighbours-the people of Caenina, Antemnae, and Crustumerium-were there, and the whole Sabine population came, with their wives and families. They were invited to accept hospitality at the different houses, and after examining the situation of the City, its walls and the large number of dwelling-houses it included, they were astonished at the rapidity with which the Roman State had grown. (Titus Livius )


11 The abduction of the women. When the hour for the games had come, and their eyes and minds were alike riveted on the spectacle before them, at the given signal the Roman youth dashed in all directions to carry off the maidens who were present. The larger part were carried off indiscriminately, but some particularly beautiful girls who had been marked out for the leading patricians were carried to their houses by plebeians told off for the task. One, conspicuous amongst them all for grace and beauty, is reported to have been carried off by a group led by a certain Talassius, and to the many inquiries as to whom she was intended for, the invariable answer was given, For Talassius. Hence the use of this word in the marriage rites. (Titus Livius )

12 Giambolgona

13 Alarm and consternation broke up the games, and the parents of the maidens fled, distracted with grief, uttering bitter reproaches on the violators of the laws of hospitality and appealing to the god to whose solemn games they had come, only to be the victims of impious perfidy. The abducted maidens were quite as despondent and indignant. Romulus, however, went round in person, and pointed out to them that it was all owing to the pride of their parents in denying right of intermarriage to their neighbours. They would live in honourable wedlock, and share all their property and civil rights, and--dearest of all to human nature- would be the mothers of freemen. He begged them to lay aside their feelings of resentment and give their affections to those whom fortune had made masters of their persons. An injury had often led to reconciliation and love; they would find their husbands all the more affectionate because each would do his utmost, so far as in him lay to make up for the loss of parents and country. These arguments were reinforced by the endearments of their husbands who excused their conduct by pleading the irresistible force of their passion--a plea effective beyond all others in appealing to a woman's nature.( Titus Livius )

14 Nahl Charles Christian

15 The first wars. (Tite Live) The feelings of the abducted maidens were now pretty completely appeased, but not so those of their parents. They went about in mourning garb, and tried by their tearful complaints to rouse their countrymen to action. Nor did they confine their remonstrance to their own cities; they flocked from all sides to Titus Tatius, the king of the Sabines.

16 Hersilia (Titus Livius ) Whilst the Sabines tided their time, Romulus began by defeating Caenina and the Antemnates. Whilst Romulus was exulting over this double victory, his wife, Hersilia, moved by the entreaties of the abducted maidens, implored him to pardon their parents and receive them into citizenship, for so the State would increase in unity and strength. He readily granted her request.

17 Hersilia separating Romulus and Tatius Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, dit Le Guerchin

18 Tarpeia Three years after the abduction the last of these wars was against the Sabines. Spurius Tarpeius was in command of the Roman citadel, the Capitol. One day his daughter went outside the fortifications to fetch water for some religious ceremonies. Bribed by Tatius, she promised to deliver the Citadel to the Sabines. Once inside, they crushed her to death beneath their shields, either that the citadel might appear to have been taken by assault, or that her example might be left as a warning that no faith should be kept with traitors. A further story runs that the Sabines were in the habit of wearing heavy gold armlets on their left arms and richly jewelled rings, and that the girl made them promise to give her `what they had on their left arms,' accordingly they piled their shields upon her instead of golden gifts. Some say that in bargaining for what they had in their left hands, she expressly asked for their shields, and being suspected of wishing to betray them, fell a victim to her own bargain. In all events they were the masters of the Citadel. (Titus Livius )


20 «The Tarpeian Rock is near the Capitol. » The Tarpeian Rock to the extreme south-west of the Capitoline hill, is where she was buried. For the Romans,it became the place for the execution of traitors. Its proximity to the Capitol, the summet of Roman power, reminded everyone that this supreme punishment could follow the highest of honours.

21 The next day, though the Roman army was drawn up in battle array over the whole of the ground between the Palatine and the Capitoline hill. Mettius Curtius had run down from the citadel in front of the Sabines and driven the Romans in headlong flight over the whole of the ground now occupied by the Forum. He was now not far from the gate of the Palatine, and was shouting: We have conquered our faithless hosts, our cowardly foes; now they know that to carry off maidens, is a very different thing from fighting with men. In the midst of these vaunts Romulus, with a compact body of valiant troops, charged down on him. Mettius happened to be on horseback, so he was the more easily driven back, the Romans followed in pursuit, and, inspired by the courage of their king, the rest of the Roman army routed the Sabines. Mettius, unable to control his horse, maddened by the noise of his pursuers, plunged into a morass. The danger of their general drew off the attention of the Sabines for a moment from the battle; they called out and made signals to encourage him, so, animated to fresh efforts, he succeeded in extricating himself. Thereupon the Romans and Sabines renewed the fighting in the middle of the valley, but the fortune of Rome was in the ascendant. (Titus Livius )


23 As they were preparing to recommence combat, they were stopped by the amazing and difficult to describe scene. The kidnapped Sabine women, some with infants in their arms others with dishevelled hair, came running from all sides shouting as if possessed by divine passion, clambering over weapons and the mountain of dead, appealing with the most tender of words to their fathers in the one army and their husbands in the other. The armies and their leaders were alike moved by this appeal and received them in their midst. Then the womens cries were heard even to the last of the battle lines and their appearance filled everyone with a feeling of pity which became more ardent, when the women having in all liberty and justly reprimanded them, prayed with such ardent devotion. (Titus Livius )


25 What have we done? They said to them; and by what deed have we deserved the ills that we have suffered and from which we are still suffering? Abducted by force, contrary to justice, by the men to whom we now belong; neglected for a long time after such an outrage by our brothers, fathers and friends, we have had the time to grow fond of these Romans who used to be the object of our hate and to create with them such intimate relationships, that we are today obliged to fear for those of our abductors who are still standing and to weep for those who are dead. You did not come to avenge this injustice when we were still maidens and you come today to snatch wives from their husbands and mothers from their children! The neglect and oblivion in which you then left us have been less painful than the help that you are now giving. How miserable are we! Here are the marks of the tenderness that we have received from our enemies; here are the marks of pity that you have given us. If you are fighting for other motives which are unknown to us, at least lay down your arms out of respect for us who have united you to fathers-in-law, grandfathers and allies, those whom you treat as enemies, but if you are fighting for us, then take us with your sons-in-law, and your grandsons; give us back our fathers and our friends without forgetting our husbands and our children. We beg you, spare us a second enslavement. This speech by Hersilia, encouraged by prayers from the others, led to a laying down of arms and a beginning of peace talks between the generals. ( Titus Livius )


27 In the meantime the women took their husbands and children to their fathers and their brothers; they brought provisions to those in need and took the wounded to their homes, caring for them and showing them that they were the mistresses of the house; that their husbands were full of respect for them treating them with all sorts of kindness and respect. Following that, the treaty was soon drawn up under the following conditions. That the women who wished to stay with their husbands would not be, as we have already stated subject to other work or service except spinning wool; that the Romans and the Sabines would live together in the town; that it would be called Rome after Romulus and that the Romans would take the name of Quintium after the name of Quirium the country of Tatius; finally that Romulus and Tatius would reign jointly and share the commandment of the armies. The place where the treaty was signed is still called the Comitium from the Latin comire to gather together.


29 As a reminder of this battle, the marsh in which Curtius was almost swallowed up along with his horse was called the lake of Curtius. Such a favourable peace time, following after such a dreadful war made the Sabine women more precious to their husbands, to their fathers and especially to Romulus. So when he divided the populous into 30 curiae, he named each one after these women. They were probably more numerous than the number of curiae; unfortunately tradition has not told us what criteria was applied, their age, their rank, that of their husbands or destiny, for the choice of these names. From that time on, not only was the sovereignty shared by both kings but it was practised by one and the other in perfect harmony.

30 Nahl Charles Christian The Rape of the Sabines The Invasion, 1871

31 The Myth according to the vision of Ovid in the Art of Love It was you, Romulus, who first mingled the cares of love with public games, that far-off day when the rape of the Sabine women gave wives to your warriors who had waited for them so long. No curtains then hung in the marble theatre, nor was the stage made red with liquid saffron. In those days branches from the woods of the Palatine were the only adornment of our simple stage. The people sat on seats of turf, their heads canopied with boughs. As soon as he had sat him down, each Roman looked about, marking the woman whom he most desired, giving free play to the thoughts that surged within him. Whilst to the sound of a rustic pipe an actor strikes his foot three times upon the levelled earth, amid the unforced applause of the expectant throng (for in those days applause was neither bought nor sold), Romulus signed to his men to seize upon their prey. In a trice, with shouts that made their object clear, they laid their eager hands upon the cowering women. Even as the weak and timid doves flee before an eagle, even as a young lamb quails at the sight of a wolf, so shuddered the Sabine women when they beheld these fierce warriors making towards them. Every one turned pale, terror spread throughout the throng, but it showed itself in different ways. Some tore their hair; some swooned away; some wept in silence; some called vainly for their mothers; some sobbed aloud; others seemed stupefied with fear; some stood transfixed; others tried to flee. Nevertheless, the Romans carry off the women, sweet booty for their beds, and to many of them, terror lends an added charm. If one shows herself too rebellious and refuses to follow her ravisher, he picks her up and, pressing her lovingly to his bosom, exclaims, "Why with tears do you thus dim the lovely radiance of your eyes? What your father is to your mother, that will I be to you." Ovid The Art of Love chapter 1 v 101-130


33 Second part Works of the artists which illustrated the episode of « The rape of the Sabines » and comments. De Domenico Morone à Pablo Picasso.

34 Domenico Morone

35 Albrecht Dürer

36 Giovanni da Bologna (Giambologna)

37 Andrea Andreani

38 Pietro Berrettini da Cortona

39 Luca Giordano

40 Antoine Rivalz

41 Adrian de Vries

42 Nicolas Poussin

43 The composition is triangular with the point of escape leading towards the triumphal arch. In the foreground is the abduction scene, organised in a circular fashion around a woman imploring Romulus, the instigator of this trap, who is standing on a platform, in a pose directly inspired by Imperial statues or directing this forceful coup in the manner of a conductor of an orchestra. The abduction is portrayed in an organised disorder: the scenes of violence are symmetrical and the white horse is in a central position in the painting. In the background the Roman architecture is triumphant (the temple, the houses, the arch, the gallery)

44 Colours: The intelligent use of light colours following two slanting parallel lines draws attention to the violence of the suspended motion. The activity of the scene is created by the balanced use of coloured masses: - the red of the Roman cloaks and that of Romulus cloak, - the yellow of the soldiers tunic and of the young Sabine girls dress, - the blue of the Roman dignitarys toga and the dresses of the two Sabine women. - the orange coloured cloak of the Roman, Romuluss tunic and the dress of the old Sabine woman.

45 Conclusion The subject in question well depicts the roman legend: - on the one hand, the mad audacity of an emerging Rome which imposes itself in a single well organised coup (see the gesture of Romulus) a sudden attack made obligatory by the previous refusal of the proud Sabines to the propositions of alliance with Rome, according to the version of Titus Livius. - on the other, panic, the helplessness of the young Sabines struggle and despair ( shown in the touching attitude of the mother in the central part of the picture). Poussin gives the scene a grandiose setting; the monuments could be those of Rome at its peak. Romulus in an exaggerated gesture poses for time immemorial confident of the growth of his city.

46 Jacques-Louis David

47 This is the time for reconciliation between the Romans and the Sabines at the womens request. David has depicted this scene because he preferred to represent the moment of reconciliation, peace, joy, and reunion, instead of abduction which is a moment of heartbreak, brutality and shock. The man on the left with the Sabines is Hersilias father, whom she is trying to save from the Romulus.

48 We can distinguish Hersilia from the other Sabine women, by her imposing position in the middle of the painting, her arms open wide as if to gather together the two peoples.She is more in the light than the other figures. Romulus is on the right of the painting with the Romans. He is recognisable by his coat of arms which has a she-wolf suckling Romulus and Rémus as its emblem.

49 In this scene the coat of arms is on his shield. The background is separated from the figures by a horizontal line. Hersilias right arm serves as a second separation between the Sabines and the Romans.

50 Pablo Picasso In 1962 when he was then 81, Davids painting of the Sabines inspired Picasso, to sketch a drawing and paint two pictures, as a conclusion to a series of transpositions taken from the works of great painters. The choice of these works of art to be found in the vast storage of museums, is never left to choice. When Picasso looked at Davids painting, he recognised his own distinguishing mark painted more than two centuries before. Both charismatic, these painters were for their contemporaries, the embodiment of the ideal artist. What literature calls a genius. Their undeniable talent, earned official recognition bordering on veneration, which gave them the freedom to defend their political ideas.


52 Picasso never ceased to denounce war. His love of sketching and the human figure drew him closer to the works of David. Finally the erotic connotation of the abduction could only serve to increase the image of desire, a theme that the ageing Picasso privileged. For all these reasons, Davids Sabines would arouse in this twentieth century painter an abundance of recollections and why not, a continuation. Reproducing a work of art supposes two distinct movements: a period of assimilation and a period of interpretation. One needs to balance the relationship between the accurateness of the subject, the manner of its transition and ones own impartiality. In this process only one tool lends itself with subtlety to the complex intermingling of ones thoughts: the drawing. A single charcoal sketch allows you to understand how he saw and interpreted Davids work of art. On a sheet of averaged sized paper Picasso let his imagination freely interpret the subject. He copied the essential elements: the main characters the men, the women, the small children appear in a typical country scene closed off in the background by an architecture which is reminiscent of the ancient world. The idea of conflict and confusion are the starting points of the composition, placing the characters in crowds of movement, while accentuating the expressive gestures.


54 The comparison of Picassos charcoal sketch with that of Davids painting shows the distance the former took with regards to the original. The drawing is strongly imbued by Picassos observation of the oil painting but what he retained, he subtly modified and placed differently. This slight change creates a sensitive modification of the meaning of the original. Let us observe the manner in which the figures are presented. In Davids work the battle is intense: the gestures and the attitudes clearly show the enmity of the rivals, whereas the amount of dead is very discreet. Picassos interpretation is the complete opposite: here babies and distraught women are blindly massacred but the enemy is never clearly indicated. In Davids painting the men are lightly clad as in ancient times in Picassos work it is the women and this guides the understanding of the works. David shows war to be noble and virile: Picasso shows depraved and bloody rape. Picassos drawing is obviously a rewriting of history. It depicts a process with which the painter was well familiar. The stroke has an abstract function. Using fact as its starting point, it gives its autonomy to a form which portrays another reality.


56 The Rape of the Sabines is presented as a mesh of highly suggestive forms. The disproportion of parts of the body, as in the womans raised arms vividly depicts her desperation. The distorted body parts, an inheritance of the Cubist school, here adds to the violence of the scene. Picasso is above all interested in how a stroke can suggest emotion. The first oil painting produced after this study, is a faithful reproduction of Davids colours, made up of browns, greens punctuated with reds and blues. The transposition of values respects the plan of the original. But captivated by the metamorphosis of the forms, Picasso confirms the choices he had made in his drawing and amplifies them: still situated on the left, the man with a shield, who in Davids painting is no more important than his rival, here takes on a new dimension. Disproportionate, he is the only human whose outline stands out from the savage confusion which in which the bodies lose their identity. Is he a hero or a tyrant? Before his eyes threatened – needlessly protected?- by his huge glaive –humanity agonises. The atrocity is conveyed by the monstrous forms which the artist has given to the figures. The dislocated forms evoke mutilation.

57 Similar to Guernica in the means used the Rape of the Sabines in 1962 denounces contemporary atrocities. (cf.:Emmanuelle Tenailleau)

58 Part three Contemporary atrocities: Modern day violence inflicted on women.

59 Violences : 130 million mutilated women; every year 4 million women and little girls sold worldwide. On a global level, at least 1 in 3 women are beaten, forced to have sex or badly treated in one way or another, the more often by someone they know including their husband or another member of the family. 1in 4 women has suffered brutality during her pregnancy.

60 The size of the problem. * According to a study conducted by WHO ( World Health Organization) in ten different countries dealing with the health and domestic violence: 15 to 71% of people questioned said they had suffered sexual or physical violence at the of their husband or partner. Many women said that their first sexual experience had been forced on them. (24% in rural areas of Peru, 28% in Tanzinia, 30% in rural areas of Bagladesh, and 40%in South Africa)

61 Each year in the world, some 5000 women are murdered by members of their family in the name of family honour. * The trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of hard labour or prostitution is wide spread and often affects the most vulnerable. * Forced marriages and arranged marriages of children are a violation of the rights of women and children, even if they are widely practised in numerous countries in Asia, the Middle East and black Africa. * On a world scale up to 1 in 5 women and 1in 10 men say that they suffered sexual violence as children. Children having suffered such experiences are at more risk of being confronted with other forms of violence later on in their lives.

62 Some statistics about violence towards women. A study conducted by Amnesty International. Contents * Percentages * Rape * Violence supposedly cultural * Womens slave trade, a worldwide business * War rape

63 Percentages 1 in 3 women, according to UNIFEM has been raped, beaten, forced to participate in a sexual act or abused at least once in her life. Domestic violence is, according to a study carried out by WHO and the World Bank, the main cause of death or damage to health for women between 16 and 44 years of age more important than cancer, malaria or road accidents. Statistics on violence between married couples or partners vary considerably from country to country: According to the UNO, 30% of women are subjected to abuse by their husbands or ex-husbands in Great Britain, 52% in western Jordan, 28% in Nicaragua, 47% in Bangladesh, 29% in Canada, 58% in south and south-east Anatolia (Turkey), 23% in Australia and 16% in Cambodia. In Switzerland in a survey conducted in 1997, 1 in 5 women between the ages of 20 and 60stated they had suffered physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partner or husband Up to 70% of murdered women are killed by their husbands. In 1999, in Russia 14,000 women were killed by their partner or a close relation. Physical violence is almost always accompanied by mental violence. In the above mentioned Swiss survey, 40% of women said they had suffered mental violence on the part of their partner or husband. A national survey conducted in Canada in 1993, showed that one third of women having been subjected to physical violence had at one moment or another feared for their lives.

64 Photo beppie k

65 Rape. Each year, in the USA, 700,000 women are raped or are victims of other forms of sexual violence.14,8% of these women are under the age of 17. In France between 50,000 and 90,000 women are raped and many victims do not report this rape. Sexual abuse on children is also equally numerous. Out of 1,200 young girls aged between 16 and 17, who took part in a survey in Geneva, 20% said they had been sexually abused at least once. In Peru, a study on pregnant teenagers aged between 12 and 16, showed that in 90% of the cases they had become pregnant due to rape, the most frequent being that of incest.

66 Photo xxju

67 So called cultural violence. Violence against women based on so called cultural or religious practices are a violation of human rights, which is still widespread. At the present time 130 million women in the world are subject to genital mutilation. Each year 2 million women and young girls join the ranks of victims of genital mutilation. In India an estimated 15,000 women are murdered every year because of their dowry. The majority are burnt in their kitchen, which helps to camouflage the crime as an accident. In Bangladesh many women suffer from acid attacks which disfigure them, leaving them blind or in some cases causes death. In 2002, 315 attacks by acid were reported on women and young girls. More than 60 million women have disappeared in the world due to selective gender abortion. In the latest Chinese census it has been proved that the ratio of female and male births is now 100 :119, whereas the biological norm is 100 :103. In Pakistan each year more than 1,000 women are killed in the name of family honour. Every year in Turkey, about 200 women and young girls are victims of crimes of honour, which are carried out by a member of the family. In Jordan an estimated 23 women are victims of this sort of crime.


69 Womens slave trade a worldwide business. Each year about 4 million women and young girls are sold into slavery, marriage or prostitution. Each year about 2 million girls aged between 5-15 are forced into prostitution. Between 1990 and 1997 more than 200,000 women were sold in Bangladesh. Between 5,000 and 7,000 have been taken illegally to India. In Belgium, between 10 and 15% of prostitutes have been forced into the sex industry, after having to leave their native country. They mainly come from central and eastern Europe, Columbia, Nigeria and Peru. In Switzerland an estimated 1,500 to 3,000 women are brought here as victims of human trafficking. Statistics for the European Commission and OSCE say that about 120,000 to 500,000 women from central and eastern Europe, brought to western Europe are victims of people trafficking. HIV/AIDS as a result of violence towards women. More than half of new HIV positive cases concern young people between the ages of 15-24 and more than 60% of these are women. A study carried out in Tanzania in 2001 showed that HIV positive women are 2 and a half times more often victims of violence at the hands of their partners than HIV negative women.

70 Photo mwmphotography

71 War rape. In Rwanda an estimated half a million women were raped during the 1994 genocide. In Bosnia 20,000 to 50,000 were raped in the first five months of the war in 1992. In southern Kivu a province of the Democratic Republic of Congo 5,000 women were raped between October 2002 and February 2003, an average of 40 per day. The Congolese Rally for Democracy and other allied groups such as the Hutu rebels and the Mai Mai raped thousands of women of diverse ethnic origin, during the conflict in eastern Congo. The impact on health of these acts has been enormous: many of these women died as a result of the attacks and an unknown number have been infected by the HIV /AIDS virus. In the USA, as a result of a survey carried out in 2003, 23% of young lesbians said they had been the object of attempted rape by their fellow school friends. 50% say the are sexually harassed.

72 Photo Jongo

73 The Law. Obviously the State imposes certain limits on mens conjugal rights as regards to women, but by this very law it also encourages the said violence; In the case of adultery: a husband who immediately murders his wife and her lover caught in the sexual act in the marital home is pardonable. (Article 324,&2 of the penal code) This article-which has come down to us from the lex talionis – is a justification of mens conjugal rights in murdering not only their wives but their wifes real or presumed lover. The complacency –for want of a euphemism- of our society regarding these crimes which are still labelled crimes of passion are rooted in the history of this article. And on a global level our entire law which takes for granted the subordination of women to men in the sphere of domestic privacy.

74 Photo imperfectbeauty

75 The penal code practised in France is still structurally marked by the fact, that it has been devised by men, without any consultation of women and against their most basic rights. Therefore, neither rape nor marital rape is formally recognised in our code as an offence or crime. So, there is nothing which allows us to believe that our societies are civilised.


77 Women cannot be thought of as equals of men, as long as the relationship of propriety between the sexes, in regards to womens bodies, even of the person herself, in prostitution and matrimony has not been re-evaluated. It is this very reason which explains why so much violence is sexual. As long as it is not clarified by law, that sex and the body are inalienable and that pimping and prostitution are illegal……….. As long as it is not stipulated by law, that no contract, including a marriage contract or civil pact of solidarity confers any right on sexuality, or the body of others, the process of equality of the sexes, will continue to refrain from tackling the very problem of masculine domination and can therefore, only - except with some amendments – serve to maintain it.


79 We should reformulate our penal code so that it states: * the superiority of the assumption of the defence of the rights of people on the access to the right of property and public order. * the superiority of the principle of the defence of the rights of the victims with regard to the rights of the defence. * the categorical refusal of any penal mediation, whenever violence is denounced. * the removal of murders, aggressions and sexual violence as offences or pardonable crimes. (cf. Marie-Victoire Louis)


81 Texts and photos: Internet Texts translates from French to English by Jeanne Corneille, thank you very much to her. Music: Tomaso Albinioni Adagio in G minor Daniel 8 Mars 2009 This slide show number 61 is strictly deprived. It is for not commercial custom

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