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Journal of social hygiene (Volume 28) online

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authority that brings shudders to the social worker used to thinking
of case work as a process beginning with the voluntary appearance
of the client and continuing in an atmosphere free of any pressure
on the part of the worker. The presence of authority, although never
unsheathed, might seem to thwart any working together of worker
and client which is the desideratum of modern case work.

Some years ago E. Marguerite Gane answered such an objection in
this way: "The application of general case-work principles and
methods to the setting of the protective society, with an authoritative
element implied in its very name, may seem impossible. On the
contrary, may not authority be used as carefully and constructively,
to fill a real need, as is relief in a family agency, or board payment
in a child-placing one?

"It is interesting to find how easily people accept recognized
authorities which have as their purpose general protection. A worker
finds a thirteen-year-old girl dancing in a roadhouse. She explains
to the girl and to her mother the law which prohibits this activity and
the reasons behind it. Without protest the girl quits the job.
Although authority had been expressed merely by the worker's
presence and her explanation, a relationship was established with
the family which later resulted in a request from the mother, then
in the hospital, for the worker to 'call at the home to see how
everything was.' "


It is this restrained use of authority which is the key to proper
case handling in the social protection field. Indeed unrestrained use
of authority negates the true value of social protection, which lies
chiefly in its rehabilitory procedures.

This need of restraint is emphasized by Philip Broughton who says
in his recently published booklet, Prostitution and the War: "The
first decisions of law enforcement officers are probably the most
important single factor in many of these cases. There will be
hundreds of girls who would be set down as 'incorrigible' and 'un-
cooperative' if they are approached with the untrained bluster of
many an old-fashioned deputy sheriff. Others could not be influenced
for the better by any male official. But experience has shown that
with proper professional handling almost 100 per cent (of unmarried
mothers, sex delinquents, prostitutes who ply their trade merely to
earn a living and who do not find it answering some deeper need)
will respond."

Mr. Broughton and most social protection workers believe that the
person who makes the first contact with such girls should be, ideally,
a policewoman trained in social work procedures.

We are thus led into a consideration of the place of policewomen
in our protective program and here we look to the foremost authority
in America on the subject of policewomen, Miss Eleonore L. Hutzel,
Fourth Deputy Commissioner of the Detroit Department of Police.
She has written a letter to the Boston Committee on Social Protective
Measures, from which we quote, as follows:

"If we accept the fact that in areas where war workers (and
soldiers and sailors) are gathered we must concern ourselves with
(1) law enforcement, (2) identification of youth in need of guidance
and protection, (3) resources for dealing with individuals on a case
treatment basis, then I see no better way of identifying youth than
through the use of trained policewomen.

"In the years since the last war, the so-called "protective agency"
has almost disappeared. Social case work has concerned itself more
and more with the treatment of the individual and less with com-
munity conditions. This works no hardship when there is a group
of trained policewomen but leaves an obvious gap in communities
where this service is lacking."

What Miss Hutzel means by "identification" of youth in need of
guidance and protection is explained. It takes a trained person
on routine patrol in public places to differentiate among the girls
whose behavior is innocent, the hardened delinquents, the prostitutes,
the girls who can be rehabilitated and those who will be recalcitrant
to the last. The assigning of these girls to such categories and the
recognition of individual girls comprise what Miss Hutzel calls

Miss Esdaile of the workshop group now tells us some of the
difficulties of dealing with problem adolescents. They show antago-


nism and aggressiveness toward the worker. She must be "non-
shockable" if she is to preserve her poise and objectivity. The
worker must present the attitude of a listener rather than someone
sitting in judgment. The adolescent may try to see how far he or
she can go in getting away with things. Miss Esdaile finds that many
parents do not understand what the worker is trying to do and
they do not at first cooperate. It is necessary to interpret the imme-
diate situation to parents as well as to interpret to them the reasons
for the rules and laws of society.

Miss Fowler fears that girls, particularly those from out of town,
do not know what are the recreational facilities of a community nor
where they may be found. She urges something be done to make
that information available. The discussion becomes general and
we consider the possible use of recreation bulletins for girls, such
as are already published weekly for servicemen. We also discuss
the part newspapers and radio might play. It is a difficult problem.

At our final session Malcolm Knowles of the Boston Y.M.C.A. comes
to describe for us the survey being conducted by the Department of
Youth Activities of the Boston Council of Social Agencies. He tells
us that the survey is in two parts:

First, a master map of Boston is being prepared showing the
location of youth-serving facilities, according to census tracts. Against
this map of resources can be compared maps showing data on youth
needs, such as maps of delinquency rates. If there is any valid
relationship between lack of resources and needs in any neighborhood,
this will become apparent almost at a glance.

Second, a survey is being made of the residence of participants
in youth-serving agencies, for many boys and girls go some distance
from their homes to find the recreational facilities they favor. At
present volunteers are searching the membership records of 21 youth
agencies, the Y's, Hebrew associations, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the
art center. Later the work will be extended to include records of
settlement houses and other agencies serving youth. From these
searches will emerge the pattern traced by Boston youth seeking
recreational outlets.

Mrs. T. Graf ton Abbott, of the Massachusetts Division of Child
Hygiene, who is visiting the workshop, asks what will be done if the
distribution of high delinquency areas matches those neighborhoods
lacking youth-serving activities. Mr. Knowles replies that the Youth
Activities Department would undoubtedly consider such a relationship
in recommending budgets for the city's youth-serving facilities.

Mr. Knowles is asked whether records showing the location of
genitoinfections might be used to discover any relationship to lack
of youth-serving facilities, and he thinks such a comparison might
have value.


The members of the workshop are now urged to discuss what might
be done by the types of agencies they individually represent to help
in an immediate protective program.

Miss Pierce reports her experiences at Norfolk House where they
have some problem girls and are able to absorb them in group
activities. They are giving some attention to families of the boys
and girls in their programs. They work with other social agencies.
Miss Pierce finds that dances are the only successful program for
boys and girls together.

Miss Ransier had earlier reported that Margaret Fuller House
found games, dances, and dramatics with boy and girl participation
had been successful.

The need of temporary shelter for girls picked up in a protection
program is next considered. It is brought out that most shelter
homes refuse to take girls with syphilis or gonorrhea even though
modern methods of treatment eliminate the chance of their infecting
other residents. Thus, problem girls who are infected are often sent
to a reformatory while others, who are free of infection, are placed
on probation. It is agreed that this is socially undesirable as it
tends to identify the girl unfortunate enough to become infected
with hardened offenders, whereas treating her on a case-work basis
might bring about her rehabilitation. The need is seen of educating
social agencies in the new therapeutic technics in syphilis and
gonorrhea control.

Miss McMahon explains the function of the Division of Child
Welfare Services, which is interested in stimulating day-care pro-
grams for children and in preserving and strengthening family control
of children. Problem cases that fall between other agencies can be
placed in the hands of the Child Welfare Services worker.

Miss Sullivan reports that Family Services, such as the one in
the Catholic Charitable Bureau, come to the aid of families with
counsel, financial assistance, vocational guidance, employment finding
and other services and so help in bolstering family control over youth.

Miss Jones and Miss Brown tell of the part newspapers can play
in acquainting the public with the existence of problems and the
agencies equipped to deal with them. They emphasize the fact that
the newspapers do not usually act of their own accord ; material must
be furnished to the papers by the agencies.

Dr. McGillicuddy then describes the nature, symptoms and treat-
ment of syphilis and gonorrhea. Modern treatment renders a patient
non-infectious in a short time and cures, or arrests, the diseases in
most cases, if treatment is faithfully followed. The girl under
treatment is not a health menace to other girls; no agency should
refuse to welcome her just because she has syphilis or gonorrhea.

And there our workshop ends.


What have we learned from our meetings and discussions and
what guideposts can we set up for a program to meet the immediate
protective needs of youth? Here are some of the things we have
learned :

1. These are community problems and any program of attack is
a community responsibility. No single agency is equipped to meet
the problems in their entirety. The existing resources of each com-
munity must be tapped and expanded where necessary.

2. Problem girls will respond to understanding and sympathetic
treatment. The experience of the maternity home is that the
unmarried mother can be restored to a normal and useful life after
a potentially demoralizing experience. Certainly the sexually promis-
cuous girl fortunate enough to escape such a predicament, or even
a venereal infection, is much more susceptible to rehabilitory treat-
ment. And this is said in full appreciation that the girl who knows
enough to escape these consequences is often the type most resistant
to case treatment. We know that even the prostitute is not incorrigible
in every instance.

3. The worker who first deals with these problems must be armed
with authority, but must know when to threaten, when to cajole,
when to sympathize. The worker must be experienced in separating
the wheat from the chaff among the girls whose conduct is undesirable.
The combination of qualities demanded in such a worker dictates the
use of policewomen trained in social work as the first line forces in
any social protection program.

4. We have much to learn as to the relationship between com-
munity conditions and various manifestations of anti-social conduct.
Surveys of community youth-serving resources with which we can
compare youth needs ought to give us a clue as to where our efforts
can best be applied.

5. We are not nearly as enlightened and free of taboo as we think
we are. We find agencies reluctant to deal with sexually promiscuous
girls and denying assistance to those with venereal infections. We
discover a lack of knowledge even on the part of social workers as
to the cause and cure of syphilis and gonorrhea. We find that while
we have been expecting the newspapers to take up the cudgels in
our behalf, they have been waiting for us to tell them what we are
doing and thinking.

And now for our program

1. The community must organize. This is one of the most familiar
exhortations in sociology. Its repetition has become so rhythmic that
it serves to soothe rather than to stimulate. The populace shrugs off
individual responsibility by hiding behind the time-worn cliche.
Nevertheless the community must organize. Agencies must recognize
that they have facilities within themselves and must be willing to
dove-tail their efforts with those of other agencies. Competition
may be the yeast in commerce, but it has no place on the civic plane.


It is not a question of whether the police department, or the court,
or the social agencies should deal with the problem girl. The question
is, or should be, how can they coordinate their services in a common
cause. Time is of the essence. If they will not see the light they
must be made to, and that is where civic organizations, public-spirited
citizens, and activities such as this Seminar enter the lists. They
must spread their message, exhort, wheedle, reiterate, until they
transform inertia into momentum.

2. Someone must be on hand to offer the protection when and
where it is needed. All the good-will in the world will not rescue
the drowning man. The rescuer must know how to swim, how to break
holds, and must have the stamina to bear the victim to shore. In
our particular problem, the victim is the girl attracted to spots where
soldiers and sailors congregate. Who is better equipped to rescue
her than the trained policewoman? And when the victim reaches
shore there are the other agencies ready with the restoratives.
Translate the metaphor into practical terms. The policewoman,
trained in recognizing types and individuals, sees the girl who needs
protection. By friendly persuasion where feasible, by restrained use
of authority where necessary, the girl is induced to discuss her
situation. She may reveal underlying causes, furnish clues as to why
she acts as she does. On the basis of this information the policewoman
refers the girl to one or another agency, or to a central office where
skilled case workers can interview her, counsel her and offer her

3. Something more conducive to rehabilitation than the common
jail, the barred windows of a detention home, the confinement with
hardened offenders in a reformatory, must be made available to the
girl who has left the highway of convention momentarily to pick
a few apples from the forbidden orchard. There are those who call
any form of sympathetic treatment of delinquents "pampering."
As between pinning the scarlet letter on Hester Prynne or putting
her up in a single room at the Ritz until her individual situation
could be explored, we may find differences of opinion. Of course,
we need not go to either extreme, but we are faced with a practical
dilemma. If we want to obtain the voluntary cooperation of the
problem girl in a process of rehabilitation, it would be folly to
alienate her in the beginning by putting her in surroundings that
stamp her as criminal, and then try to convince her we are sincere
in believing that she is not at heart very much different from her
more conventional sisters. Where the girl has no family to which
she can be restored pending case treatment, we ought to have
available temporary shelter sufficiently comfortable and attractive
to induce her to remain voluntarily for a few days and nights. Such
a shelter or space in some hospital should also be available for
those girls in the infectious stages of venereal disease where they
would be, in effect, isolated until rendered non-infectious.

This, then, is our program in essence: community organization
of resources, a chain of protective services starting with police-
women and leading to all the varied social, medical and welfare


services, with proper shelters available to house the girls when

We cannot lay claim to originality here ; others have reached the
same conclusions before us. Then there is a disarming simplicity
about the program. The blue-print looks trim and neat; one
wonders why the structure rises so crazily. It is in translating the
plan into action that we meet our difficulties. We encounter mutual
suspicion among agencies, lack of understanding of what the other
fellow does, fear of offending good people with frank discussion
of one of the oldest and commonest problems in the world sex.

What do we do when we encounter these difficulties, alter our
program, tear up the blue-print? No. If this workshop has had
any value at all it has been in reviewing this program and in
reaffirming our belief in its soundness and its ultimate practicality.

. . . "The status of crime prevention within our criminal- justice system,
and especially the status of preventing first offenders from becoming repeat-
ers, might be compared to the prevention of smallpox in the early 19th
Century. At that time we had the scientific data for keeping the disease
down to a minimum. We had the serum, we knew how to apply it, and we
Jcnew that it worlced. But only a few specialists were practing vaccination
for smallpox, and we lacked the legal and administrative devices which we
have today for applying it to practically the whole child population of
the United States.

"Or it is as if we had every workable wheel, piston and gear of a
machine in this case an administrative machine designed to protect
society from the criminal acts of young offenders, but we had never under-
taken the job of a 'final assembly.' . . .

"... Until the average young offender is looked upon as a youth in
trouble, not a dangerous criminal; until the correctional institution is
considered simply as one of the community's agencies offering specialized
care for young people, and not as society's last resort for the vicious;
until the public accepts the problem of youthful crime as its own respon-
sibility to be dealt with understandingly, and not written off like a bad
debt until that time, I believe the crime toll of the country will increase
and society will continue to play a losing game with itself. ..."


in an article, Eight Handling Can Beduce Youth Crime,
in Life Magazine.




Head, Division of Educational Guidance, University of Oklahoma,
Norman, Oklahoma

A great deal has been said at this conference * concerning
the problem of prostitution and venereal disease control as it
affects our armed forces and industrial workers. Much of
the discussion has been directed at immediate alleviation of
serious conditions. This approach is a necessary one, but
at the same time a long-time solution needs to be worked out.
The means of control devised through long-term planning
will be quite different from the control established when the
need is an immediate alleviation of a critical situation.
Fundamentally the long-time solution of this problem lies
in proper education, and it is that approach toward which
I should like to direct our attention.

In 1926, I had the privilege of working as a fireman on a non-
union tramp steamer. Here I was for a time associated with
a group of men from whom I learned many things not found in
sociology textbooks. I found that a good many gambled; some
did not. Some drank habitually; others were teetotalers. Some
frequently sought prostitutes and other sexual promiscuity; others
abstained from such relationships. This last mentioned phase of
behavior I have observed for a number of years, and out of such
a simple fact as that not all soldiers, sailors or industrial workers
patronize prostitution or seek sexual promiscuity arises a very
interesting question. What is it which keeps some from following
this pattern of conduct, while others accept it readily? It seems
probable that the difference is in some way induced, since it is
generally accepted that for normally healthy men the biological
sexual impulses are very similar in most individuals. I believe
the difference lies largely in the kind of an education received in
home and school and the presence or absence of certain environ-
mental factors during the development of the individual.

* A talk given at the Southwestern Regional Conference on Social Hygiene
in Oklahoma City, February 6, 1942.



During the past twelve years I have had a great deal of experi-
ence as a psychological counselor and guidance worker in counsel-
ing with young men concerning problems of sex adjustment.
While and since writing Sex Adjustments of Young Men 1 have
talked with and collected the sexual case histories of a large
number of young men. From the study of these case histories I
think I have been able to construct a pattern which will help in
understanding the background of sex behavior of two groups or
types of men the continent and the promiscuous.

I will discuss first those who, according to commonly accepted
standards standards which in my judgment are psychologically,
sociologically, and ethically sound have made an easy and good
adjustment to sex. By making a good adjustment I mean that
the youth's attitude is one of objectivity, and freedom from lewd-
ness and embarrassment. He will readily admit his interest in sex,
but has come to regard it as a force which has positive, upbuilding
potentialities if used properly and under the right circumstances.
The well-adjusted individual will then order his conduct so that
sex behavior is in harmony with the need for respecting the rights
of other individuals, and with sound social conventions. There
are more such individuals than we are often led to believe, though
not so many as I wish there were.

In the case history of every man who has made such a com-
mendable sexual adjustment, I have been able to discover at least
one, usually two, and frequently four of the following factors
operating :

(1) Sex education. From some source the boy has obtained
accurate, adequate information concerning matters of sex and his
own sexual development. It is particularly important that this
information should be given in a natural, normal way, just as
information in regard to sleep, diet or exercise would be given.
Sex should be placed in its proper relation to the rest of the phases
of living; not distorted nor minimized from the place it actually
occupies. I recall in this connection the experience of one young
man who, by the way, believes in and observes social conven-
tions when as a child he asked his father the difference between
men and women. The father explained the entire range of
differences, including economic status, position in the family, and
in society in general, kind of clothing and hair dress, physical
powers, and nature of interests, as well as the physical and ana-
tomical differences.

It is also important that the child should be given the needed
knowledge early before he forms an obsession about sexual matters,
or comes to think of sex as a mysterious, secret, fascinating, enticing
sort of thing about which he must learn if he is to satisfy his

(2) Definite interests in the field of music, sports, reading, friend-
ships, collections, hobbies, organizational activities, or job activities
which keep the youth interested in worth-while constructive enter-


prises. I do not believe these activities function by providing a
means of sublimation so that sex drops out of the individual's life.
On the contrary, I think that interests such as I have mentioned
occupy the boy's time in such a manner that he has no occasion
or incentive to go far along the path which will lead to sexual

(3) Good associates. Friends whose interests are similar enough
to make them genuine companions, and whose interest in sex is
on a high level and free from obscenity and the desire to exploit
others for personal physical satisfaction assist each other greatly.

(4) Freedom from undue sex stimulation. Here I have reference to
the influence of other unfavorable sources for disseminating informa-
tion in regard to sex. Many movies, shows, literature, and pictures
are designed to excite sexual interests unwholesomely, or to stimu-

Online LibraryAmerican Social Hygiene AssociationJournal of social hygiene (Volume 28) → online text (page 59 of 71)