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these private organizations to enlist gradually the public authorities in this vast undertaking and to transfer to the public treasury as fast as possible the support of all those parts of the work which experience proves to be of sure and permanent public advantage. The pioneering in regard to both research and practical measures will probably continue for many years to be the work of voluntary associations.
B. THE SOCIAL EMERGENCY.
William T. Foster,
The social emergency that confronts the human race is flaunted before us in many unlovely forms and appears in new aspects wherever we scratch beneath the surface. Study the results of human frailty and the possibilities of racial betterment through any avenue of approach, and we meet the fundamental problems of sexual hygiene and morals. Our cities struggle in vain to free their police forces from graft, while the business of prostitution offers such large and easy profits. Students of municipal recreation centers discover such conditions that they regard parks and playgrounds as physical and moral menaces unless under careful and trained supervision.
The home, the church, and the school have reached a small proportion of the human race with adequate sex instruction, while thousands of quack doctors still ply their vicious trade, widely disseminating falsehoods, and preying upon that fatal ignorance of vital matters that we have carefully cultivated in our children under the name of innocence. The juvenile courts bring in their daily records of pitiful cases. The antisaloon workers present sad evidence of the dependence of "commercialized prostitution on the liquor traffic. Decent employers of labor cry out against the competition with employers who expect their young women to eke out a living wage by immoral conduct. Honest keepers of hotels and lodging houses protest that it is useless to keep up the fight for decency while disreputable houses under police protection make exorbitant profits. Students of eugenics find sexual immorality the chief hindrance to racial improvement. Turn where we may within any field of legitimate human endeavor and we run counter to this destructive force; we discern new aspects of the social emergency.
In the fact of this social emergency, there are but few who offer no complaint. They are the white slavers, the pimps and the panderers, the imbeciles and feeble-minded among their victims, the keepers of bawdy houses, the " respectable " owners of property used to promote the joint business of drunkenness and prostitution, dealers in liquor, municipal officers and police who protect vice for a living, fake doctors who thrive on ignorance and spread disease, and newspapers that make such criminal business possible through advertisements accepted at extraordinary rates.
Ii To begin with, there is the history of the question. Many generations have joined in the "conspiracy of-silence'? in matters pertaining to sex and reproduction. The result is widespread ignorance «f matters of the utmost importance to the individual and the race, ignorance of which many good people are proud. During these
f generations in which the home, the church, and the school have withheld the truth from young people, other agencies have been busy disseminating falsehoods. Having almost no opportunity to hear sex and matrimony discussed with reverence, our young people have almost invariably heard these subjects discussed with vulgarity. Partly as a result of all this has come the general acceptance of the double standard of morality which has bitterly condemned the girl— made her an outcast of society—and excused the boy for the same offense on the specious plea of physiological necessity. With the sanction of this double standard, tacitly accepted by society, the majority of men have grown up in indulgence and have developed habits which are, or which they believe to be, beyond their control. Millions of men who recognize no law in sex life but their own appetites are thus contributed to us by the past. They are factors in the present situation and must be reckoned with.
[' As a matter of fact the educational phases of social reform are of most immediate importance. Nothing can so profitably occupy the attention of social hygiene societies as the education of the public. If groups of social workers come to serious disagreement on other phases of the present emergency; if the discussion of restricted districts, minimum wage laws, health certificates for marriage, and reporting of disease divides the group into warring camps; all can unite in favor of spreading certain truths as widely as possible; and it is not difficult to agree on at least a few of the many methods which have already proved effective in educational campaigns.
At the outset of our attempt to educate the general public in matters of sex, Ave face certain factors which govern the scope, time, place, and method of any successful efforts. Failure to give these factors due consideration has brought many attempts to early and unhappy ends, and convinced some people that ignorance is safer than such education.
No aspects are more important than those concerning morals and religion. The restraining fear of disease may and probably will be thrown off by science. Whether education in scientific aspects of the subject will do good or harm in a given case depends on the extent to which moral and religious ideals control the conduct of the individua!. The inadequacy of mere information in matters of sex is painfully evident. To the knowledge of what is right must be added the will to do the right. All the other aspects of the social emergency treated with superhuman wisdom would still leave the greatest problem unsolved. As moral and religious instruction is the dominant educational need of the present generation, so the moral and religious aspects of sex problems transcend all the others in importance.
These are the most important phases of the social emergency. It is difficult to see them in all their intricate relationships and to realize that in any one approach we touch only one side of a many-sided problem. The great majority of our people see only the superficial aspects or see one particular phase in distorted perspective because that is brought close to them through a special case of misfortune. Even social workers are in danger of narrowness of vision because of devoted service in particular fields. To attempt to deal with sex aspects of school hygiene, as though these problems were distinct from other phases of the social emergency, is to invite failure from the start. The union of the American Federation for Sex Hygiene and the American Vigilance Association is a step in the right direction, for it gives promise of seeing the social emergency clearly and seeing it whole.1
C. EDUCATION v. PUNISHMENT AS A REMEDY FOR SOCIAL EVILS.
Hugh Cabot, M. D.,
Boys have, in general, been given no systematic training or instruction in the nature of their sexual make-up. But if the boy's equipment was not cared for by education, it was not neglected by nature. Natural curiosity and intense sexual cravings attend sexual maturity, and its phenomena are often rather terrifying to the uninformed. To fall into error is what might naturally be expected of ignorance facing the unknown. Again, at the period when active growth is over, the young man will not infrequently be driven by his sexual self to an extent almost incompatible with efficient living (of course assuming that he is not married). His instruction is likely to be at the hands of ignorant contemporaries in the form of misstated fact or direct lie.
The girl has been given even less information. Our attitude has been, "Don't ask." Her religious teaching has laid stress upon the sanctity of marriage, but she was not taught what the marriage rela
1 The two orpmizatloD* were amalgamated at the Huffalo nii'i'tlug.
tioii is. Like the boy, she picked up a certain amount of misinformation.
Such was the equipment of the younger generation. It taught asceticism, not chastity, before marriage, and after marriage a licentious sexual life, limited only by its compatibility with human existence. And this standard we proposed to enforce by punishment.
The boy, following his instinct, often became infected with venereal disease. Fearing to go to parents, and lacking money, he fell into the hands of quacks, with resulting complications and uncured and chronic disease. The boy of stronger character adopted asceticism, and, not understanding the storms of his nature, in his turn fell into the hands of the quack, and was drained of money, health, and at times almost of reason.
The girl was denied her natural defense, that of comprehension, and, when the defense of a guarded life was lax or absent, yielded to she knew not what. Pregnancy, abortion, prostitution, venereal disease were among the natural results; the last, if possible, more serious in her than in the boy.
The plan of dealing with the sex question during the past half century has not, I think, met with much success, and the continuance of this method will meet with even less success in the future. The clangers arising from the mismanagement of the sex instinct are increasing. Control by punishment, which has failed in the past, is necessarily-doomed to more tragic failure in the future. Punishment dealt out as we have dealt it is concealment, lying; concealment and lying undermine character; and the wonder is not that character is less firm and robust than we desire, but that any firmness or vigor exists at all.
I f we are to stand any chance of success, it will be upon a basis of intellectual comprehension and by the deliberate strengthening of the personal defenses of the individual which enable him to guide successfully his own life. Dependence upon an abiding faith, based upon accepted dogma, is not suited to the spirit of the times. Faith has waned; can it be because we have been faithless? We have lied, and the failure of faith is the dividend paid for our untruthfulness.
To secure comprehension^ a thing far more fundamental than knowledge, instruction must be given early, must be continuous and progressive. It must teach clearly and honestly the true nature and effects of the sex instinct. Instruction leading to comprehension will require men and women of unusual breadth and strength of character, but I believe that no other form of education is more likely to produce profound and lasting influence upon national character. This teaching must not be in isolated form. "We must guard against the ever-present danger of bringing people, old as well as young, to regard sexual morality as different and removed from other forms of morality. We must so plan our instruction as clearly to relate this form of morality to truth, honor, courage, virility.
Sooner or later we shall come to realize that teaching the comprehension of the sex instinct is the function of the public school, though we are far from such a realization to-day. We still cling to the idea that this instruction can be given in the home, forgetting that a large proportion of parents are not equipped, either by nature or art, to give this instruction. If we depend upon the home as the source of teaching, that teaching will not be given.
D. POINTS OF ATTACK IN SEX EDUCATION.
Thomas W. Balliet, New York University.
As a matter of wise public policy and as a means of accomplishing ultimately the greatest good, sex education should begin where its necessity and practicability are universally recognized and where mistakes during its experimental stage will be much less serious than in the case of such instruction to young children in school.
Accordingly, the first point of attack should be the parent. No one questions the possibility of doing a vast deal of good by enlightening fathers and mothers on this vital subject. Public sentiment is ripe everywhere for this step, and competent persons can l>e found, usually among the medical profession, to give this instruction. Furthermore, the proper instruction of parents will be the most effective means of creating public sentiment in favor of giving such teaching in proper form to children in the schools.
Another point of attack for which we are ready is the Army and Navy. There is no place where such instruction is more needed, and its necessity and practical value are not seriously questioned by anyone. It should be given entirely at the Government's expense and usually by men who have had medical training; and it should not be given spasmodically, as at present, but systematically and thoroughly, and on a scale large enough to reach every enlisted man.
A third point of attack for which we are ready, and which has already been quite vigorously begun, is sex instruction in the colleges, both for men and women. Such instruction will not only meet the personal needs of students, but will equip those who are to become teachers in elementary and secondary schools to give it to pupils in these schools.
A fourth class of persons to whom sex instruction can now be effectively given are groups of young men and young women in Young Men's Christian Associations, Young Women's Christian Associations, social settlements, and similar organizations.