Reading through my Great Grandfather's court documents from 1897, illuminates just what it was like to be a woman in North Dakota then.
I guess I am not entirely shocked by what the documents contained; the young girl my Great Grandfather raped, was basically told that the assault she endured was her fault....the court judged her on how hard she fought back while she was being attacked...and this court thought she could have fought back harder, why didn't she bite him or scratch his face...it was because he threatened to make things "much more painful"-that's why.
This poor girl was just 19 years old and newly married - far away from her home in Bohemia...attacked and raped by her neighbor and family friend.
In the end, my Great Grandfather was found guilty of only attempted rape, that's all....he served five years in jail for the horrendous crime he committed while he was a married father of five.
My Great Grandmother filed for divorce, taking their five small children with her: their last child was born the day my Great Grandfather went to prison...it can be no suprise, that my Great Grandmother and her five young children were condemned to a life of poverty.
What happened to the young girl? Her marriage remained strong-even when she gave birth to the child conceived from the rape; the young family lost everything and were forced to move away from the town, as the girl's reputation was ruined, she was proclaimed a whore and her husband could no longer find work...they were shunned and became outcasts, because of my Great Grandfather's disgusting actions and allegations that she was a whore and the sex was consensual. I found the Wedding photo online of this precious young girl- I can barely look her in the eyes; I am so ashamed of my Great Grandfather and the anguish he caused during his lifetime.
Ironically, the child born from rape and the child born the day his father went to prison served alongside each other, unbeknownst to one another, in WWI.
Rape has been, and continues to be the Nemesis of ALL Females on the planet. #EndRapeCulture #WarOnWomen