A Wife Spanking In Winnipeg

The following story about a Canadian wife spanking story from Winnipeg — and its legal aftermath, and the social dispute that followed — appeared in the Adelaide Chronicle in Australia, on Saturday May 19, 1928:

notorious Winnipeg spanking case from the 20s

The text reads:


The prairie metropolis in Canada (states the Winnipeg correspondent of the London Daily News) is discussing whether a man should spank his wife. The proprietor of a local music store put his wife across his knee and spanked her because she insisted on going out with other men. She sued him, alleging cruelty and humiliation. Counsel for the wife, one time Solicitor General for Canada, said the husband’s act might have ‘got by’ in the days of the Roman republic. The Magistrate thought there was much virtue, despite its severity, in the Roman code; a little of its application in our modern social sphere would be beneficial, he said. He was obliged by law to convict the husband, but he let him out on suspended sentence. The burden of Winnipeg opinion is against the magistrate. The clergy say the Bible gives the mandate to the husband to beat his wife. One judge says the law forbids him to chastise her. Another member of the bench says he was a very forebearing husband to let her go with a whipping. The women, with one dissentient, say men ‘get away’ with actions they would not allow their wives to do. The dissenting voice, that of Winnipeg’s only woman lawyer, said her profession taught her that many modern women would be much better for an occasional contact with the switch. The controversy is spreading westward.

Winnipeg’s only lady lawyer in those days was kinda fierce: “Many modern women would be much better for an occasional contact with the switch” indeed!

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