More on Ravishment!
Someone asked which Blackstone I was quoting for my definition. This is from COMMENTARIES, Book Four (Public Wrongs) Chapter XV (Of Offenses Against the Person of Individuals) sections III.
I quote it here in full because of the inherent interest in the subject. One can trace the evolution of the elements of the crime of rape away from a property crime against the father of the victim to a crime against the victim herself. The term 'civil law' is a term of art, and refers to the Roman law.
* * *
III. A THIRD OFFENCE, against the female part also of his majesty’s subjects, but attended with greater aggravation than that of forcible marriage, is the crime of rape, raptus mulierum, or the carnal knowledge of a woman forcibly and against her will. This, by the Jewish law, was punished with death in case the damsel was betrothed to another man; and in case she was not betrothed, then a heavy fine of fifty shekels was to be paid to the damsel’s father, and she was to be the wife of the ravisher all the days of his life, without that power of divorce which was in general permitted by the Mosaic law.
The civil law punishes the crime of ravishment with death and confiscation of goods; under which it includes both the offence of forcible abduction, or taking away a woman from her friends, of which we last spoke; and also the present offence of forcibly dishonouring them; either of which without the other is in that law sufficient to constitute a capital crime. ( Collapse )