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Representation of Rape in 18 th Century Trials in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913 PowerPoint Presentation
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Representation of Rape in 18 th Century Trials in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913 Claire Brodley. Undergraduate Research Project: Learning to Research Forensic Linguistics. Working with Dr Alison Johnson in the School of English

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Representation of Rape in 18th Century Trials in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913

Claire Brodley

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

undergraduate research project learning to research forensic linguistics
Undergraduate Research Project: Learning to Research Forensic Linguistics
  • Working with Dr Alison Johnson in the School of English
  • Project brief – after taking Forensic Approaches to Language module, negotiate an original collaborative research study
  • Aim - presentation at 10th Biennial International Association of Forensic Linguists Conference in 2011 – Aston University, Birmingham and possible journal publication of conference paper

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

what is forensic linguistics
What is Forensic Linguistics?
  • Language in Legal Settings
  • Theoretical concerns – description of legal language.
  • Practical aspects – expert linguists in the courtroom.
  • Leeds students’ projects
      • Old Bailey trials
      • Legal language in statutes
      • Politeness in the courtroom
      • Authorship attribution

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

research process how to choose a topic
Research Process: How to Choose a Topic?
  • IAFL Conference – July 2009, VU University, Amsterdam
    • Academic research
      • Language of the jury
      • Computational forensic linguistics
      • Transcription of police interviewing
  • Module essay ‘Semantic field of madness in trials of the Old Bailey Proceedings’
  • Interest in Language and Gender - combining two areas of linguistics

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

context old bailey proceedings 1674 1913
Context – Old Bailey Proceedings 1674-1913

Trial transcripts provide authenticity although not verbatim from original speech, some are only summaries - recontextualisation

Selective reporting – omissions of opening and closing statements, judges’ summing up, defence evidence

Changing attitudes towards sexual offences – evidence ceased to be published from 1798

Produced for publication and for sale – consideration of economic/cost constraints and marketing as entertainment

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

data collection compiling a corpus
Data Collection - Compiling a Corpus

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

quantitative patterns statistics of representation in the proceedings
Quantitative Patterns – Statistics of Representation in the Proceedings

Total number of Rape Trials recorded in OBP

Proportion of Trials represented in OBP with a full or summary account

In looking at representation we note the proportion of trials recorded with a full transcript, those with just a summary, and those where details are missing. In the 18th Century, 153 out of a possible 256 rape trials were reported. However in other centuries there was a notable absence of reporting, with only 1 out of 1324 cases reported in the 19th century, and 1 out of a possible 391 from 1900-1913. This prompts questions about the choices made when recording the linguistic data of the rape trial across the four centuries.

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

more statistics of cases involving child victims
More Statistics of Cases Involving Child Victims
  • High proportion of not guilty verdicts compared to adult cases
  • 36% of defendants found not guilty were then tried for a lesser charge
  • Representation through language as an explanation of these decisions?

Defendant-Victim Relationships Reported in Trials with Child Victims

18th Century Trials Involving Child Victims

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

lexical patterns
Lexical Patterns
  • The indictment of the rape charge - impact of legal language in constructing ideologies:
    • John Adamson was indicted for that he   not having God before his Eyes, &c. On the 3d of October , in the Liberty of  St. Martin's le Grand , in and upon   Catherine Walgrave , an Infant under the Age of 10 Years, viz. of the Age of 3 Years and 10 Months , feloniously did make an Assault and her the said Catherine, wickedly, &c. did carnally know and abuse . (Summary trial 1739, guilty verdict)
    • George Rowson , was indicted for   Assaulting, Ravishing, and Carnally knowing   Elizabeth Bickle , Spinster , against the Will of the said Elizabeth , the 19th of this Instant February . (Summary trial 1730, acquitted)
    • George Tennant , late of  St. Botolph's without Aldgate , was indicted for   committing a Rape on the body of   Mary Craggs , an infant under ten years old. (Full trial 1749, acquitted)
  • Frequent verbs: hurt, lay, lie, lain – how do these represent the crime, complainant and defendant?

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

qualitative analysis euphemistic language
Qualitative Analysis – Euphemistic Language

Critical Discourse Analysis – Discourse-historical framework (Reisigl & Wodak 2009)

Normalising the crime

Limiting evidence through use of indirect terms – hurt, somewhat, wet

Mary Craggs

[Q:] Pray child tell us what he did to you?

[A:] He heav'd me across a chair, and went and bolted the street and yard door; said I, what are you a going to do? he said, child, lie down, I will not hurt you: he made me lie down, and said if I cry'd out the neighbours would hear, and they would tell my mother and she would whip me to death.

[Q:] Did you lie down?

[A:] He laid me down.

[Q:] What else did he do?

[A:] He put somewhat into my private parts that hurt me sadly: said I, you hurt me sadly; O says he, my dear, I don't; I know I don't, says he; says I, indeed Mr. Tennant, you do hurt me; says he, I know I don't.

[Q:] Did you observe any thing come from him wet?

[A:] Yes, sir.

[Q:] Well, and what after that?

[A:] After that my mother came home, says he, don't tell your mother; if you do your mother will whip you to death.

UGRS Presentation 22/06/10 Claire Brodley

conclusions
Conclusions

Limiting evidence through legal and euphemistic language fulfils institutional goals of censorship but also helps to normalise the crime.

Reporting of mainly prosecution evidence makes the discourse susceptible to questioning by the audience, in contrast to the defendant’s lack of evidence deposition.

High proportion of not guilty verdicts or indictments to other charges may have been to protect the child or family name and also deterred other people from attempting to prosecute for financial gain.

References

Clive Emsley, Tim Hitchcock and Robert Shoemaker, Old Bailey Proceedings Onlinewww.oldbaileyonline.org

Reisigl & Wodak (2009) The discourse-historical approach. In Wodak & Meyer, Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis (2ndedn) London: Sage, pp 87-121.

UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley