Letter: Nothing brutal about Victorian family values

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SYLVIA Greenland's letter (8 August) about 'Murder in the Heart' (Review, 18 July) contains a number of misconceptions.

Divorce on the grounds of cruelty was available throughout the period of the Thompsons' marriage. I do not know of any 'Victorian family values' that include brutality and incest. I wish people would stop using 'Victorian' as shorthand for patriarchal authoritarianism and hypocrisy. It was the Victorians who passed the first divorce act in 1857. It was also the Victorians who elevated family life into an ideal, thus undermining the idea that women were their husband's 'property'. If Tommy Thompson had acted on Victorian values he would never have behaved as he did.

Edward Matthew Ward