« ForrigeFortsett »
Twice a month every man in the ranks is thoroughly inspected for disease or physical defect, and if there are any symptoms of venereal disease, he is watched and treated.
3. Next to this medical treatmentsome would say superior to it-is the character and force of the commanding officer of the camp: for from him the staff and regimental officers take their cue.
Under the present regulations the statistics of the health department will show with practical certainty the character and force of the commander. Camp conditions differ of course; some are near low-toned towns and citiessome away from all population. Allowing for these, a division general can by a study of the medical reports know whether the camp commander is worthy of his post. And if he is not, the public opinion of the Arrmy as well as the higher officials will, if true to themselves, relieve him of his post.
4. This nation is now entering upon a great and most interesting experiment based on a sound philosophy and social experience. The best fighter is the normal man trained in body, mind, and character to the highest military efficiency. Men to remain normal require a certain amount of variety of interest, change of thought and exercise, play, books and society. In Christian armies religion has always been recognized. It is being supported at fresh points.
Every citizen is so familiar with the principles and methods of the camp activities that I need say no more. The most radical move is the presence of women in the camp. Instead of the camp followers of old, we now have women, strong, mature, tactful and attractive, in camp, canteen and hostess house. A letter from a landing port in France is before me. "I wish," the writer says, "the people at home could see the boys' faces brighten as they come off ship and see one American woman waiting there to greet them. It gives them just the right start in this strange life.”
These facts of the Army give me the message of hope to society. Under military discipline, with high purpose and medical skill, the disease can be prevented, cured and stopped-not in a day or a decade, but the facts show that under certain conditions and character it can be done.
The vital question for us is: Are we ready to support to the full this pro
gram to lessen and in time eradicate the disease? Is society going to help or obstruct?
The Army comes from society: the recruits have shown the condition of society. The danger is not in the Army but in the city, not so much in France as in the industrial town and country village. I need not repeat the facts. If we are to support the Army and win this war, there has got to be a tremendous cleaning up of ourselves, our own neighborhoods, our streets and theatres, our hotels and resorts. Yes! Education and warning must enter the homes of the innocent for their protection. First the people must have the facts. The great engine of publicity is the press. But they will not give the facts: they claim that the people will be offended at them.
I challenge the newspapers of this country, those with great circulation, to place upon their front page not two or three startling statements with sensational headlines, but the figures that I have given or such a succinct statement of facts as the Medical Departments of the Army and Navy are ready to give them, revealing the conditions of society in relation to the Army. It is a war question, as vital as food and fuel. They say that the people do not like such facts: they offend their taste. Let the press try the people.
It is time that the lid be off and men and women meet this problem as they have met diphtheria and tuberculosis. Of course there is a difference. People protest that "this disease touches sexual problems and questions of morals: the finger of scorn will point at the victims. Doctors cannot report their cases to the public. We are not an army." No, we are not, but must we therefore do nothing and continue to poison our Army? We are told that if people begin to talk about such things, it will lead to improprieties.
People are talking: you are talking : I am talking: our boys and girls are talking: the stage is talking. Why not come out into the open, and let the talk be healthy, sane, medical, and practical?
What now can society, which has not the discipline of the Army, do to protect itself and the Army?
First, I have said, publish the facts. The first thing is to get them: thus far we have little more than estimates, good guesses on the part of experts as to society's condition.
A few states are pointing out the path, and as Massachusetts is the latest, I select that for our study.
In December, 1917, by action of the Public Health Council, gonorrhea and syphilis were added to the list of diseases declared dangerous to public health. Think of it, our own state, only two months ago!
The next problem is how to spot the infected person, the carrier of the disease, to prevent him from being a source of danger. For the object of the program is not punishment or publicity but the safety of the community through the cure of the infected. If physicians are compelled by law to report the names of infected persons, many of these will keep away from physicians and thus be a menace to society. Hence the state by a certificate system receives from the physician a number which will always identify the patient, the physician holding the name in confidence. The physician or his successor, if the patient change doctors, is held to account for the patient whose name, however, is given to the Board of Health if he evades the law. The reports are made to the State Board of Health, not to the local board.
Establish "approved clinics" throughout the state, where adequate treatment may be had, free to the poor-a small charge as a rule. The purpose of these clinics is to stop the disease and make the patient harmless to others.
Follow-up work by social workers from the clinics. The building of hospitals for venereal diseases.
Of what use is it to treat a thousand prostitutes
hundred infected tramps and send them back onto the streets without the cure and upbuilding which a hospital gives? We might as well collect poison, make it into pills, sugar-coat them and throw them to the crowd, as to treat and not cure such people and send them back to the street. So much for the medical side.
As to the social methods. The first aim is to break up the alliance between prostitution and alcohol. Every expert that I have read, every medical officer that I have talked to, every officer of the Army-one of the last was General Leonard Wood-says the greatest obstacle to the suppression of venereal disease is alcohol. Stop the men drinking, and you have won more than half the battle.
The Government has acted to protect our soldiers and sailors. Why should not the same protection be given to our munition workers, our shipbuilders, and the whole people? I say no word here about Constitutional Prohibition : whether in great industrial states more or less alcohol may be drunk under that form of prohibition allows of differences of opinion. But of this I am clear, that during the War the same protection should be given all the people as is given our soldiers and sailors: and I am confident that the War motive which supports the enforcement of our Army would support the enforcement for the whole people. Meanwhile, so long as medical officers and experts say what they do of the immediate relations of alcohol and venereal diseases, I believe that it is the patriotic duty of every citizen to do what he expects the man who is giving his life for him to do,abstain from alcohol.
Whatever the law is on the subject, are we as a people ready to act upon that voluntary action? Shall we help or obstruct the Army?
Other social efforts follow. Of the highest importance, the organization for social service and repression of vice by all the communities about the camps, a clean five-mile zone and more if necessary. Repression of street solicitation, police and reformatory action; rehabilitation of the prostitute; improvement in living conditions, athletics and all those influences which go to the building up of healthy bodies and sound characters.
Three definite pieces of work are vital:
1. Probably fifty per cent of the prostitutes are sub-normal mentally or in will power, some really feeble-minded. The tremendous work of protecting this great mass while still children is an immediate duty. And a large percentage of the diseased boys and men are subnormal also. Thousands of these of both sexes infect the strong and normal : thousands of sub-normal children are born of these, and the vicious circle, demoralizing the people and costing the nation millions on millions of dollars, continues its round because we do not want to face the facts.
2. The great sources of supply of the thousands of open and clandestine prostitutes is the young girls with easygoing, careless parents who have no thought of leading their children to better things than they can find on the
children. A people so living demand a licentious stage and four literature.
The facts are interesting and enlightening as to our social conditions. Again, it is interesting to note how when the Christian Church has given up saving the heathen by threatening them with the terrors of hell, many social reformers and doctors are bringing that motive to bear upon men and women, on boys and girls, to save them from vice. The threat works sometimes—it probably brought some heathen to Christ: but as a motive power it is really very weak.
In the sex problem we are dealing with primal passions, next to self-preservation probably the greatest passion. This turbulent stream of passion cannot be held in restraint by fear of a future: it will take its chances. It cannot be checked by any such discipline as civil life offers. Even the harshest military discipline can hardly restrain the passion when in battle the brute has been roused and in victory the brute sees
street and in the parks. Silly, and fond of fun and admiration, a man attracts them, and once fallen, sometimes through ignorance, sometimes through a temporary affection, many of them are within a year or two diseased, demoralized, practically outcasts of society.
No police or reformatory or house of mercy will correct these conditions. The responsibility falls upon the homes, the Church, the schools and public opinion. When will the mothers who proudly send their boys to the War take pride in protecting their boys by keeping their girls happy and pure at home?
Shall the women of this country turn in with all their might to study the girl problem, and in sympathy with the emotions, ideals and habits of girls, lead them to a pure and true womanhood?
3. To meet the sex problem and passions, a pure and happy home, a sound body, the habit of work, a sense of duty, and a religious faith are the best assets.
In these days, however, some sort of education in sex relations, simple, sympathetic and brief, is a necessary safeguard. How that shall be done may be answered in many ways: and because we are in doubt as to the best method, we cannot leave it undone.
All these things have a direct and immediate relation to supporting the Army and winning the War.
My last thought is this, a somewhat personal one. The greatest shock that has come to me in the study of the facts is not in the pervasive infection of the community, not the horror of the disease or even the tragedy of the results, but in the amount of immorality, the thousands on thousands who are yielding to illicit passions. If we add to those who are diseased through immoral relations the number of those who have immoral relations either frequently or occasionally and who escape infection, we count an appalling percentage. The question is not so much of national disease
of national demorilization. From such habits come, of course, frequent divorce, broken homes, parentless
Strength of will and character are built up by self-mastery, by good habits, and by that spiritual force which has exceeded all others in human history, religious faith. It fails a thousand times, but it still remains the greatest power. You may bring back the Army one hundred percent clean by prophylactic treatment and medical skill-fine soldiers, true to military discipline. If, however, they are only physically clean and subject to outer discipline, if they have not been built up in character and self-mastery, then when they are mustered out to break ranks they will fall into the arms of women who will infect and destroy them. A light-hearted crowd will cry, "They have fought well, let the boys have their Aling." Is it for this that we seek victory?
Let our appeal to the men be high: to their honor-how can they drag even a low woman one step lower in degradation? The meanness of taking advantage of a weak-willed girl. She is the sufferer. How can a man, remembering
"As this article goes to press, the Army statistics indicate that the rate of venereal infections contracted after admission to the Army for the first year of the war will be approximately 20 per 1000 men in the United States and 47 per 1000 men in the expeditionary forces. The lowest rate attained prior to the present war is 91.23. The army officers say this is not due to the medical measures alone but to all the medical-social work of the past year made possible through the close coöperation of the military and civil authorities and agencies.
his mother and sister, steal the virtue of a pure woman?
The chivalry of the twentieth century protects women. Let our appeal to women be high: the sanctity of womanhood, the beauty of chastity, the holiness of marriage and childbirth.
After all, the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Defilement of the body drives out spiritual power: an infected
body leads to an infected soul. The chaplain, who is the spiritual guide of the soldiers (many of whom I know to be a centre of moral and religious force) is right when he takes for his text in the barracks Christ's challenge, "I am come that they might have life,' physical, mental, moral, spiritual life"and that they might have it more abundantly."
Social Hygiene and the War
Abstract of Article* by Timothy Newell Pfeiffer, Captain, Sanitary
Corps, United States Army.
TITHIN six weeks after instances where it was found neces
America's entrance into the sary to use force, the commissions
war, Sections 12 and 13 of did not hesitate to do so. By the the Selective Service Law had been end of September there was not a passed, creating about each military red light district within five miles or naval establishment a zone in of any important military or naval which houses of prostitution and establishment in the United States. the sale of liquor were forbidden, Within one year after our entry inand prohibiting the sale of liquor to to the war, seventy-eight such soldiers and sailors everywhere. districts had been closed.
Two Commissions on Training By the operation of the liquor Camp Activities – one for the provision of the law, bootlegging Navy and one for the Army was driven into the open. Most were created to keep the camp liquor dealers obeyed the law and environments clean. The commis- the few who insisted upon selling sions sent investigators into the to men in uniform had their communities under their jurisdic
licenses revoked. tions, to uncover the facts in re- The next step was to eliminate gard to vice and the liquor traffic the prostitute, as well as the place and to lay these facts before local where she did business, and the officials with a demand for their bootlegger. It was recognized, also, co-operation in enforcing the law. that protective work among young Realizing that a law cannot be girls and steps for the control of enforced without popular support, venereal diseases in the civil poputhe commissions sought to win over
lation were necessary. their opponents by showing what it To cope effectively with the meant in terms of quicker victory whole problem of repression, one to have a clean, healthy Army and law enforcement division, acting Navy. As a result of this policy, for both commissions, was organthere was little opposition to the ized. It includes three sections: government's first step. In the few one on vice and liquor control, one
* In Social Hygiene, Vol. IV, No. 3 (July, 1918).
† Districts in the following 'Ohio cities were included in this number: Cincinnati, Circleville, Chillicothe, Columbus and Dayton.
on reformatories and houses of stationed as local representatives detention and one on women and of the section in communities adjagirls.
cent to camps. Personal aid is The section on vice and liquor given in rehabilitating young girls control works through local rep- who have committed their first sex resentatives in communities ad- offenses, thus cutting off the jacent to camps, whose activities supply of prostitutes. The fixedare directed by district supervisors. post workers also strive to coThere are now ten district head- ordinate local agencies working in quarters in the country, and the behalf of women and girls, as well number is being increased as the as to improve laws governing dance military and naval establishments halls and motion picture theaters, grow more numerous. The staff to secure better lighting and is made up mostly of lawyers - policing of parks and to bring both civilians and Army and Navy about the appointment of Travofficers.
elers' Aid workers and policeThe work of the section on women. They have been inreformatories and houses of deten- strumental in obtaining detention tion is to develop places of cus- homes and venereal clinics for tody and training for women and many camp cities. girls whose presence near the The division of law enforcement camps is a menace to the health works in close co-operation with and morals of the men in the ser- the Department of Justice. The vice. The section received an ap- Army and Navy intelligence propriation of $250,000 from the bureaus, the American Protective war emergency fund, and is ex- League and the state councils of tending financial aid on a "fifty- defense have also aided the divisfifty” basis to states and com- ion. Several states have appointed munities for the development of state commissions to aid the Fedreformatory facilities. Most of eral commissions. its work has been done in the The Commissions on Training South, where the need is greatest. Camp Activities have a social Where facilities were found al- hygiene division with educational ready in existence, as was the functions. This division has been case in Virginia, the work is being instrumental in stimulating civilian enlarged and standardized. The' co-operation with the commissions acceptance of Feedral aid by a in their work of repressing state or community entails Federal prostitution. supervisory regulation of the insti- The law enforcement division is tutions established or helped. not a police agency, the enforce
The primary objects of the sec- ment of Federal law being a function on women and girls are to tion of the Department of Justice. protect women and girls in com
The division is the agency through munities adjacent to camps and to which the Secretaries of War and establish venereal disease clinics. of the Navy act in making effective The section has women district the policy of the War and Navy supervisors whose districts coin- Departments with respect to the cide with those of the section on repression of prostitution and vice and liquor control and who illegal liquor traffic. The division work in close co-operation with neither apprehends nor prosecutes the representatives of that section. the offender, but concentrates its Women fixed-post workers are attention upon municipal conditions