At present in Ireland, a Domestic Violence Bill is rumbling its way through the Irish parliament, a welcome albeit overdue development. Louise Crowley has noted that failures to enshrine domestic violence as a discrete criminal offense have gone hand-in-hand with Ireland’s historic reluctance to intervene in such cases. A look at gendered violence in Ireland, focusing on historical cases of domestic murder, can help illustrate the contours of gender. Investigating cases of men who were convicted of murdering women from motives attributed to jealousy can reveal Irish societal attitudes to sexual honor and women’s sexuality.
My research focuses on the period 1864 to 1914. In this 51-year span, I have so far identified eleven cases in which men were convicted of the murder of a female partner in circumstances that were explicitly understood through the motive of jealousy. The research project is ongoing, and further research may reveal other cases in which jealousy was present as a less overt motivation.
However, what is clear so far is that these cases exist against a backdrop of violence against women — in the 51-year period, 28 men in total were convicted of the murder of a wife, a number of other men murdered unmarried partners, while other cases reveal sexually-motivated killings. In a majority of cases in which men killed partners, there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship; within this context, jealousy was a common trigger for violent behavior.For more, see the full post at Nursing Clio.