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History of Gender Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2002

Lynn Sacco

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Full-Text Articles in History of Gender

Sanitized For Your Protection: Medical Discourse And The Denial Of Incest In The United States, 1890-1940, Lynn Sacco Dec 2001

Sanitized For Your Protection: Medical Discourse And The Denial Of Incest In The United States, 1890-1940, Lynn Sacco

Lynn Sacco

This article examines medical discourses from 1890 to 1940, when physicians and reformers uncovered, and then dissembled, evidence that white, middle- and upper-class American men were sexually abusing their daughters. Doctors had long recognized that children could acquire gonorrhea, but they believed that infections were confined primarily to poor and working-class girls who had been sexually assaulted. In the 1890s, doctors began to incorporate new technologies into the diagnostic process and they were shocked to discover that gonorrhea infection was so common among girls that they feared it was epidemic. Doctors claimed that concurrent infections in fathers and daughters from ...