|The murders of the Bordens, step-mother and
father, occurred 08-04-1892. Some the event as the galvanizing event
that spread the women's right movement to the common woman. More accurately,
it might be considered the date that women's militant involvement in determining
their own fates.
Because Lizzie Borden's trial for killing her father
and stepmother marked the first time in American HERstory that women packed
a courtroom and showed overpowering public INTEREST in a process that had
always been male-directed and dominated. There were no women on the jury,
no women in any official position with the court such as judge, attorneys,
etc. Judgment by peers did NOT occur for women.
The hometown women, especially, supported her and
cheered her acquittal - then never spoke to her again.
Historians note that Lizzie was ostracized but fail
to note how they rallied around her during the trial.
The support of Lizzie was by women who HAD to knew
the details of Lizzie's life. Anyone who has ever lived in a small town
or small city KNOWS that there are no secrets, only things no one talks
The support of Lizzie by women has led modern experts
to suspect sexual abuse/incest was at the heart of the murders.
While her neighbors could excuse/understand what she
did - perhaps silently applaud her for doing what they could not do in
their lives - they could not publically condone her by associating with
her after the verdict. It is also possible that they didn't *like* her
(later, she had a well publicized Lesbian affair with an actress), but
they stood by her during the trial because of what they knew of her "behind
closed doors" childhood with her autocratic, dour, and skinflint father.
IF Lizzie did commit the murders, there is
NO WAY she could have gotten away with it unless there was a conspiracy
to hide evidence.
Two of her neighbors were sitting at the kitchen table
located less than 15 feet away from the open window at the Borden house
- less than 20 feet away from the coach where the Borden patriarch was
hacked to death with a hatchet. It was a brutally hot summer day in August
and all the windows were open. Some blame Lizzie's "madness"
that caused to murders to the fact that the family had eaten mutton from
the same roast for days on end because the well-to-do father refused to
Supporting the incest theory is the way the father
exhibited a key that unlocked the connecting door between bedrooms. Lizzie
had moved her older, less willful sister into a side room that could not
be entered except through Lizzie's room. She also bolted the door between
her father's room and hers.
The doctor who was the first summoned to the murder
scene lived directly across the narrow street from the Borden house. Sounds
in the night penetrate a quiet residential area - and he had his own eyes
to witness any problems that both Lizzie and her older sister went through.
But what about the police? Although the investigation
was spotty it was thorough enough for Lizzie's guilt to be obvious. Everything
was searched in the house and the grounds. A reputed package carried from
the house that night by the maid was AFTER the extensive police search.
The mystery simply revolves around these known facts:
Lizzie did not leave the property and was in a very small house alone (a
maid was in the attic) when her stepmother and her father were killed.
She said she saw no one else and no witnesses ever came forward who saw
The hatchet murder of the stepmother occurred hours
before her father came home at 11:15 am for a nap during which he was murdered.
Lizzie was alone in the house for hours after the stepmother's murder with
her body lying upstairs.
There was NO BLOOD ON LIZZIE'S CLOTHES!
The hatchet was never found.
Hidden in at least one attic in Fall River, Massachusetts,
is a diary (or in dozens of attics, dozens of diaries and hundreds of letters)
in which the writer(s) discusses the secrets of the Borden family and what
went on in that tiny house.
What is remarkable is that none of those diaries have
come to light - or that the murder hatchet was never found.- or any reasonable
explanation has ever been given for why Lizzie should have killed - unless
some deep, dark secret lay at the center.
Secrets that NICE people didn't talk about in those
Event 02-05-1971, women in Switzerland,
are enfranchised to vote in national elections but women are not allowed
to vote in local elections in many cantons, a situation that wouldn't change
until 1994. (Yes, 1994).
Event 01-23-1982: Debbie Brill, Canadian athlete
who proved that pregnancy and motherhood need not end a woman's athletic
career. Her son was only five months old when she set a new indoor world
broad jump record of 6'6-3/8".
QUOTE DU JOUR
WILLET, ROSLYN S:
"Finally, when I did
decide to have a child, most people, male and female were 'worried' about
my continuing to work. I did work until the night before the baby was born...Two
weeks after, I spent a day touring a client factory. My feelings about
work was clued by my observation of pregnant alley cats. Belly or no, they
continue to jump over fences. So can most women.
"When I was asked how I could continue to work
with such a massive handicap, the answer was easy: a big belly only interferes
with tying your shoelaces; it does not impair your intelligence. Ask any
man with one."
--Roslyn S. Willett, "Working
in 'A Man's World'; the Woman Executive," which appeared in Woman
in Sexist Society edited by Gornick and Moran.