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Video: How women and men were punished for adultery in Russia
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
The attitude towards the institution of the family in Russia has changed over the centuries, but, with the exception of a short post-revolutionary period, it has always been rather scrupulous. But the attitude to the fact of treason almost did not change, infidelity was condemned, blamed and punished. True, it was easier for men in this regard, but sometimes the punishment was also extended to the stronger sex. Women, as a rule, got much more.
Payment for treason
Even Prince Yaroslav the Wise adopted the Charter, which mentions adultery and punishment for it. True, female infidelity almost did not need proof, any relationship with a stranger was equated with adultery. In order to establish the fact of male infidelity, he had to have not just a beloved on the side, but also children from her. And as a punishment, a fee was charged from the representative of the stronger sex in favor of the church, the size of which was set personally by the prince.
Infidelity cost a woman more: she immediately lost her family. In the case when the spouse forgave the betrayal and was not going to divorce, then he could already be punished. By the way, male infidelity did not always become a serious reason for divorce. A guilty woman could also be sent to a monastery for a certain time and a penance was imposed on her, but much more severe than on a man.
feel the difference
In later times, treason was supposed to lead to divorce. At the same time, much more loyal sanctions were applied to the unfaithful husband than to the cheating wife. An annual penance and a fine were imposed on the man, and sometimes they were limited to an educational conversation with a priest. If a man, armed with the testimony of witnesses, incriminated his wife in connection with another, then she was faced with a much more severe punishment. After an immediate divorce, the ex-wife went to work in the spinning yard and received a ban on remarriage.
There were differences in attitudes towards infidelity and in different classes. The nobles were more tolerant of infidelity, and the guilty woman could still count on intercession from her relatives. The most terrible punishment for her could be just the divorce itself and imprisonment in a monastery. The peasant women had nowhere to turn for help, because the whole family turned away from them. An ordinary woman convicted of treason was considered a shame for the whole family and refused to deal with her. No one stood up for her, even when her husband began to “teach” the unfaithful by all available means, including fists, sticks or a whip.
The spouse, who did not want a divorce, continued to live with the traitor, but gained complete power over her. In this case, "education" could last a lifetime, and the woman had to resignedly endure it, because she often had nowhere to go. By the way, the position of the man was so favorable that he could almost easily get a divorce if suddenly the "old" wife bothered him. Finding people willing to testify against a woman was a simple matter, and the demand for a divorce from the "traitor" was satisfied immediately.
Severity and condescension
In the 19th century, as before, female infidelity was punished much more severely than male infidelity. Representatives of the stronger sex could count on indulgence. Although there were some nuances at this time. For example, a man's divorce due to his infidelity could become an obstacle to career advancement, the proven fact of treason became an unspoken reason for refusing a position or raising a salary.
If a man received a divorce with ease, then a woman without the consent of her husband could not count on the dissolution of the marriage bond. After the divorce, initiated by the husband because of treason, the court could sentence the unfaithful wife to community service or even put him under arrest. But in relation to a man, such types of punishments have never been applied. The spouse was not reprimanded for public beating of his wife. In the cities, of course, this was rare and usually took place in working-class families, but in the villages, the punishment could be extremely cruel.
The situation changed already in the twentieth century, when physical punishment ceased to be used, and a woman finally received equal rights with a man in relation to divorce.
Ancient traditions required the girl to be innocent before marriage, but there were situations when the bride could not boast of her purity. For such an offense she was severely punished both in villages and in cities, and the woman herself and her parents were responsible.
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