22 August 2017

Slandering a Woman's Chaste and Virtuous Character

It's interesting what you find when you hunt around in the nooks and crannies of the statutory code:

§ 18.2-417. Slander and libel.

Any person who shall falsely utter and speak, or falsely write and publish, of and concerning any female of chaste character, any words derogatory of such female's character for virtue and chastity, or imputing to such female acts not virtuous and chaste, . . . or shall use grossly insulting language to any female of good character or reputation, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.


As a non-gender neutral statute, this is clearly an unconstitutional remnant from times when women were viewed as finding their value in their reputation (note that we couldn't have cared less if men were indecent and immoral). I did take out the one sentence which provided a constitutionally sound, gender neutral option, but it was basically a general fighting words option.

I have to wonder when was the last time someone was convicted under this statute.