Added: September 21, 2013 – Last updated: June 3, 2017


Author: Willemijn Ruberg

Title: The Tactics of Menstruation in Dutch Cases of Sexual Assault and Infanticide, 1750-1920

Subtitle: -

Journal: Journal of Women's History

Volume: 25

Issue: 3

Year: Fall 2013

Pages: 14-37

ISSN: 1042-7961 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1527-2036 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century | European History: Dutch History


Link: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)


Author: Willemijn Ruberg, Departement Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht

Abstract: »This article analyzes menstruation talk in Dutch cases of sexual assault and infanticide as an example of embodiment: of the interaction between cultural models of menstruation and their interpretation by contextualized and sometimes resisting bodies of women acting in court cases. It argues that the French philosopher Michel de Certeau's notion of tactics can be applied to the strategies women used when discussing menstruation in court. Since many different models of menstruation coexisted and were often contradicting, as recent research has shown, this offered some leeway to choose those interpretations which possibly served women's judicial fate; for instance, claiming not to have known of their pregnancy because of continuing menses, asserting having miscalculated their due dates, and avowing they were simply severely menstruating while actually giving birth. Women played with knowledge and ignorance in regard to bodily functions like menstruation, indicating their use of tactics, while resisting normative images of the body.« (Source: Journal of Women's History)


  Introduction (p. 14)
  Menstruation in Medical Discourse (p. 17)
  Menstruation, Psychiatry, and Law (p. 20)
  Rape, Incest, and Menstruation (p. 21)
  Menstruation in Cases of Infanticide (p. 25)
  Menstruation, Pollution, and Taboo (p. 29)
  Conclusion (p. 30)
  Notes (p. 32)

Translation: Ruberg, Willemijn. »Die Taktik der Menstruation in niederländischen Notzucht- und Kindsmordfällen (1750-1920).« Verkörperungen: Transdisziplinäre Analysen zu Geschlecht und Körper in der Geschichte. Edited by Heidrun Zettelbauer et al. Göttingen 2017: 307-332. – Bibliographic Entry: Info

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of the Netherlands