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Graphic NewsHow Sensational Images Transformed Nineteenth-Century Journalism$
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Amanda Frisken

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042980

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042980.001.0001

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“Wanted to Save Her Honor”

“Wanted to Save Her Honor”

Sensationalizing the Provocation Defense in the Mid-1890s

(p.160) Chapter 5 “Wanted to Save Her Honor”
Graphic News

Amanda Frisken

University of Illinois Press

This chapter shows how, in 1895-96, women’s rights activists attempted to use sensationalism to critique the double standard in domestic violence prosecution. Lacking illustrated newspapers of their own, veteran activists including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Henry Blackwell, used the pages of the New York Recorder, World, and Journal to apply the “crime of passion” defense to the case of Maria Barbella (or Barberi), a woman tried twice for killing a man who had seduced and dishonored her. Their efforts to introduce into the daily papers a complex debate about women’s rights and the double standard in legal protection helped win the campaign for Barbella’s acquittal. It had the unintended cost of undermining women’s standing to critique honor killings by men.

Keywords:   women’s rights, domestic violence, female honor, Maria Barbella, Maria Barberi, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, crime of passion

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