Alice Gray, Assisting in a Rape

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is Alice Gray. She was convicted of assisting in the rape of a ten-year old girl who was in her care. Alice? Alice, dear, would you care to say anything to these nice folks?

"Thirty-two years ago I was born at Adover in Hampshire. I have worked hard all my livelihood, having spent several years as a wife and a widow. In the Parish of Saint Clement Danes, I made my living by sewing and spinning soldier's clothes, nursing sick people, and washing and scouring. For the last few years, I have been the governess in a fine home. I have been in this most horrible prison of Newgate since my indictment at the Old Bailey Court House, the 25th of April 1707, but I was wrongly accused and convicted of assisting in a rape.

"Before my imprisonment, I shared a room with Catherine Masters, the 10 year old girl of whom I was put in charge. One night, about an hour till midnight, I came home from an evening and went straight to sleep in the bed that we shared. About two o'clock Catherine and I awoke to find a man in the room, and he laid across the feet of the bed, but he did not try to force or lie with the girl, and I do not know what became of him.

"Catherine claims that I came home late with a strange man, led him into Catherine's and my room, and then held her down in the bed and stopped her mouth that she could not cry out, while the man gained the perfect knowledge of her body. This is a falsehood! I would never do something so reviled to another person of my fair sex, let alone to that poor, wretched child"[1] .

The story of Alice Gray is interesting because it is unusual; women are more likely to be the victims of rape than the perpetrators. Still, regardless of their roles as victims or perpetrators, women have a unique position within the law.

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