Unspeakable: Father-Daughter Incest in American History, Most Mass Shootings Target Women and Families

February 27, 2013 Comments Off on Unspeakable: Father-Daughter Incest in American History, Most Mass Shootings Target Women and Families

– Child Pornography: A Modern Day Childhood Gonorrhea Epidemic
– Most Mass Shootings Target Women and Families; Study Finds Men With Legal Guns Are to Blame

Child Pornography: A Modern Day Childhood Gonorrhea Epidemic
By James R. Marsh on February 26, 2013

I am reading a fascinating book by Lynn Sacco, an assistant professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, entitled Unspeakable: Father-Daughter Incest in American History.


Unspeakable is an excellent book which explains how cultural mores and political needs distorted attitudes toward and medical knowledge of patriarchal sexual abuse at a time when the nation was committed to the familial power of white fathers and the idealized white family.

For much of the nineteenth century, father-daughter incest was understood to take place among all classes and legal and extra-legal attempts to deal with it tended to be swift and severe. But public understanding changed markedly during the Progressive Era, when accusations of incest began to be directed exclusively toward immigrants, blacks, and the lower socioeconomic classes. Focusing on early twentieth-century reform movements, Sacco argues that middle- and upper-class white males, too, molested female children in their households, even as official records of their acts declined dramatically.

One of the most interesting chapters in Unspeakable discusses the revolution in medicine in the early 20th century when doctors were first able to diagnose gonorrhea vulvovaginitis. Guess what they discovered?

When physicians began to use the new technology, however, they were shocked to discover that gonorrhea vulvovaginitis was widespread among American girls.…But though condemning child prostitution among the working class was one thing, explaining how girls from good families had become infected with a sexually transmitted disease was another. On the cusp of moving from the margins to the center of American health care, doctors used their professional authority, if not their medical skills, to twist the etiology of girls’ infections into existing narratives that fit more seamlessly with what doctors believed than with what they had discovered. In the process, doctors attributed fewer infections in girls to sexual assault.

Over the next ten years, doctors diagnosed gonorrhea vulvovaginitis so often that by 1904 an epidemiologist writing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases declared it an “epidemic” among girls. In 1909, Dr. Flora Pollack, who treated girls at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Dispensary, estimated that at least a thousand girls in Baltimore became newly infected each year, and she visited police stations and met with community groups to press for more aggressive prosecution of their assailants….

In terms of child pornography, it is not possible to provide an exact number of people trading child pornography across the world. UNICEF and the United Nations have provided some estimates. UNICEF estimates that there are more than four million websites featuring sexually exploited minors. Further, the number of child pornography websites is growing: 480,000 sites were identified in 2004 compared to 261,653 in 2001. More than 200 new images are circulated daily, and UNICEF estimates that the production and distribution of child pornographic images generates in between 3 and 20 billion dollars a year.

The United Nations released a report in July 2009 asserting that there are approximately 750,000 sexual predators using the Internet to try to make contact with children for the purpose of sexually exploiting them….


Most Mass Shootings Target Women and Families; Study Finds Men With Legal Guns Are to Blame
Data suggests that a gun present in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent.  AlterNet By Steven Rosenfeld  February 24, 2013

A new analysis of 56 mass shootings across America since 2009 finds women and family members are the most frequent victims, and that the shooter almost always acquired his guns legally, in cases where the gun source is known.

“In at least 32 of the cases (57 percent), the shooter killed a current or former spouse or intimate partner or other family member, and at least eight of those shooters had a prior domestic violence charge,” the Mayors Against Illegal Guns report on mass shootings said, suggesting that the problem of gun violence is far more related to violence against women in homes than rampages in public settings such as schools and theaters.

The study also found that in the cases where the source of the guns was known, almost all were acquired legally: only two examples were given of mass killings with a stolen or illegal gun. That finding runs counter to the gun lobby’s oft-cited rhetoric that only criminals abuse guns.

“We had sufficient evidence to judge whether the shooter was a prohibited gun possessor in 42 of the 56 incidents,” the report said, referring to laws barring ex-felons, mentally ill people, drug addicts and other categories of people from owning guns. “Of those 42 incidents, 15 (36 percent) involved a prohibited possessor and 27 (64 percent) did not.”

MAIG’s analysis should help focus the national debate about curbing gun violence, whether the most horrific mass shootings or ongoing violence where 33 Americans are killed daily from guns (not counting suicides). The report strongly suggests that better background checks before buying guns are needed, as well as far more discussion of domestic violence and violence against women….

“Assault weapons or high-capacity magazines were used in at least 13 of the incidents (32 percent),” the report said. “These incidents resulted in an average of 14.8 total people shot—135 percent more people shot than in other incidents (6.8)—and 8.0 deaths.”

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