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NJ Laws that Punish Unfaithful NJ Wives Removed

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 29, 2011 6:45 AM

Many states have anti-women laws that are relics of our nation's past. In New Jersey, some of these anti-women laws are now repealed. These old New Jersey laws date as far back as the early 1900s.

One law stripped a woman of her property rights if she "ravished" another man or gave "consent to the ravisher." That is, unless her husband forgave her and allowed her to move back in.

Another law allowed immediate marriages (foregoing the traditional 72-hour waiting period) for men arrested on charges of "bastardy, rape, fornication or having carnal knowledge of an unmarried female" if they consent to marry the woman.

Other laws stricken from the books include the Married Women's Property Acts which gave women in the late 19th century limited legal and property rights. These laws were no longer needed because of more recent anti-discrimination legislation, according to the Statehouse Bureau.

These anti-women laws do serve as a reminder of how far women's rights have come in the last century.

In the past, a married woman could not even claim that her husband raped her, even if he forced himself on her and she did not give consent to intercourse. This was specifically codified in many states' rape statutes.

And, in the past, women had very limited property rights. Often, women were unable to enter into contracts, and were unable to acquire property during marriage.

Women were also unable to vote until women's suffrage in the 20th century.

So, are there any more anti-women laws on the books? The old New Jersey laws may be gone, but it's likely that other states have similar laws that haven't been revoked yet.

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