In Penal Code 273.5 PC, California law defines "corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant" as willfully inflicting a physical injury that causes a "traumatic condition" (a visible injury) on an intimate partner.
: "(a) Any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim described in subdivision (b) is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars (,000) or by both that fine and imprisonment.
In 19th-century Britain, widows had greater opportunity for social mobility than in many other societies.
Along with the ability to ascend socio-economically, widows—who were "presumably celibate"—were much more able (and likely) to challenge conventional sexual behaviour than married women in their society.
The tendency for women generally to outlive men can compound this, since men in many societies marry women younger than themselves.
In some patriarchal societies, widows may maintain economic independence.