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Emily Faithfull and the Strange Rape Case

John Simkin

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An extract from Felicity Hunt's biography of Emily Faithull: "In 1864 Emily Faithfull became caught up in a divorce case when Admiral Henry Codrington sought a divorce from his wife on grounds of adultery. Helen Codrington counter-claimed, as she was able to do under the 1857 Marriage and Divorce Act, on grounds which included the accusation that in October 1856 he had attempted to rape Emily Faithfull while she was a guest in their house. At first Emily Faithfull agreed to give evidence on behalf of Mrs Codrington but later changed her mind. The reasons for this are not clear, but her own reputation, at risk by virtue of an association with a divorce case, would have been even more vulnerable had she agreed to take the stand. There is also a suggestion that she was threatened with further counter-claims by Admiral Codrington. She exercised discretion and withdrew."


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