OUTRAGEOUS VIOLATIONS: ENABLING STUDENTS TO INTERPRET NINETEENTH CENTURY NEWSPAPER REPORTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND RAPE
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This article is divided into two parts: the first highlights some of the difficulties and limitations for students and tutors who wish to explore the historiography of rape and sexual assault. In particular it addresses the problematic issue of accessing and interpreting the official records of such proceedings in the criminal courts. As an alternative it is suggested that nineteenth century newspaper reports written by professional lawyer-reporters can provide an effective substitute and can be justified as a primary research source. The second part offers a series of four case studies of sexual assaults as reported in The Times newspaper which students can easily access through the digital archive and analyse. These are presented with observations on how students might be directed to read and interpret the reports together with suggested learning points to enable them to understand how the criminal law and legal process operated in practice, and the real life implications and consequences for the parties involved.
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