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state. And we have sought to force upon white citizens realization of the fact that the problem of the immoral colored girls and women directly affects them, and is theirs to face as much as it is for the colored themselves.
In a number of houses of detention colored girls are detained in the same building with white, but on a different floor, or in a separate wing. In two camp cities I recall it is planned to use a nearby cottage for colored under the same general management as the white division.
The Institutional Problem
It has been the work of this Section not only to provide additional material detentional and reformatory facilities, but to standardize facilities already existing and those established. In all of the institutions developed we have insisted that suitable employment be given the women and girls detained. In the detention house in Newport News the girls do sewing and mending for the Quartermaster's Department. Other detention houses do work for the Red Cross, besides the work incident in the upkeep of the house.
There comes into the detention house no single type of camp follower. There is the silly little runaway girl who ought to be sent home, the feebleminded woman for whom permanent custodial care is needed, and, in large majority, untrained, irresponsible, neurotic girls, many of them diseased, for whom long-term commitment to an institution for treatment and training is necessary if they are to be made efficient citizens.
Many of the southern states have passed excellent state health laws providing for the custody and medical treatment of women found suffering with venereal disease during the period of infection. But unless this regulation is accompanied by laws for a long-term commitment to an institution of training, which will provide, upon dismissal, "followup" or parole care, the good accomplished is only to a very small degree permanent. There have been excellent detention hospitals established. They are scientifically conducted as hospitals, are clean, and the women and girls show good spirit. In conversation they individually assure you, "Sure, I've had my lesson. When I get out I'm going to get a job and stick to it!" But, unfortunately, facts prove that in many cases when a girl goes out after thirty days' intensive treatment, with instructions for the next six months, it is but to return within possibly the following month. The city of New Orleans has been operating an admirable detention hospital for several months. In that time one girl has been enrolled as a patient four times. This is no fault of the hospital. It has done its work well. But the state of Louisiana, or the city of New Orleans, supplies no legal means by which these women and girls can be held beyond the period of infection, nor is there as yet any suitable institution to which they can be sent, or any established social service work to follow up cases after they leave the hospital.
How can we most quickly make provision for long-term commitment, by which we mean at least six months or a year, to a suitable place of treatment and training? Wherever there has been any beginning in a state program it has been the policy of this Section to develop and enlarge this. The South Carolina situation in regard to white girls will be solved with the completion of the Industrial School which is being built with federal aid. So in North Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama and Arkansas. But in few states is there even a beginning upon a program for women, and it has been necessary to develop local ordinances and city or county institutions for their care. The use of city farms has seemed advisable until state reformatories for women are established. Prohibition, and an abundance of work, have had a splendid effect in clearing city farms of male occupants, so that in some cases it has been fairly easy to secure these facilities for women's use.
Standard Requirements for Reformatories
Whenever federal aid has been used for new buildings or to suitably equip old ones, certain requirements are established.
The location of the farm must be sufficiently isolated that the danger of troublesome outside intrusion will be minimized. But entirely to secure the institution from trouble-makers, and for the effective custody of some of the difficult women, potential guards in the person of farm help should be employed. During the period of adjustment it may be well to secure military guard to insure against trouble from the outside, as well as to avoid the possibility of disturbance from within. Everywhere delinquent women and girls must be made to feel that the government is interested in them, to come down harder and harder upon them as they prove a menace to our efficiency, and the program we offer must be constructive but firm, and must reveal the distinction between a reasonable amount of freedom and an opportunity for license. When such great demands are being made upon us all, to work or fight, there is no reason why this class of women should be allowed to be in idleness. The prejudice which exists in the South against women's engaging in manual labor makes this point sometimes rather difficult to accomplish.
These farms must be located on sufficiently tillable areas to permit the women to engage in agricultural work, as outdoor work furnishes so great an opportunity for rehabilitation of character, and because our country at the present time is in need of further agricultural development. There must always be'a woman superintendent in charge of all the women committed to the farm, including their work, recreation, daily household provision and discipline. She must have the power to employ and discharge her co-workers, and must be responsible solely to a mixed board, or committee, of interested representative citizens, who have the entire management of the farm, and who select the superintendent. A program of work and recreation, to include agricultural work, must be established for the women, that there may be some work of rehabilitation of character accomplished along with physical rehabilitation.
Such farms, which include detention hospitals, are needed at once, and again our policy has been to secure, if possible, land with some building on it, which can be repaired and converted into the necessary equipment. One city has bought an old automobile club for its city farm building for women.
Modern reformatories for women and girls, which, as separate institutions, should exist in every state, should be developed as industrial schools or colonies, located on a farm in the country. In some states where there are good state reformatories the entire problem of the care of delinquent girls and women in this unusual time has been handled through these established channels. Girls under eighteen should be committed for the remainder of their minority, with the idea of parole after two years' training in the school. Women should be given, if possible, an indeterminate sentence involving long-term parole. This is necessary if a complete program of rehabilitation and training is to be effected to supplement the plans for medical treatment which are being pushed by the Public Health Service.
The institutions must be in the hands of women, for it is a woman's job to work with women, and the women and girls committed have frequently seen a great deal of the wrong kind of men and very little of the right kind of women. Agricultural work must be developed as a feature of the place, for its rehabilitating and economic value. Fundamental academic work must be given in a school which it is possible for each woman or girl to attend some time during the day. There must be sewing, handwork, and a complete course of training in the domestic work involved in the conduct of a house,—including the laundry work. All of the work involved in the upkeep of the institution should be done by the women and girls, under direction as far as possible, for this develops a sense of responsibility that nothing else can. The humanizing and socializing effect of good music cannot be over-emphasized. The power of group-singing has been strikingly proved by the work of the camp song leaders.
Group consciousness and a sense of the individual's relation to the morale of the community can often be developed by a carefully guided system of self-government. High types of women are willing to undertake institutional work with delinquent women and girls, provided the life and spirit of the place be held at a sufficiently high level. Frequently college women will employ their excellent training in this work, and prove valuable aids in guiding a self-government system.
Everywhere we have received splendid co-operation of state and city officials. The work of the Section has of necessity progressed only as has the work of local and federal law enforcement. Its work is to develop and standardize institutions for the care of girls and women who are a menace to our men in training, but it aims to work in effecting this war program so that the effort and money expended will contribute towards the establishment of an effective, permanent program for the care of delinquent women and girls.
HOW THE PUBLIC MAY HELP
Katharine Bement Davis* Ph. D., General Secretary, Bureau of Social Hygiene, New York
There is just one answer to the problem raised by Mrs. Falconer, and that is, Educate the public. Because of the war we have been given an opportunity to talk straight from the shoulder on the problems of prostitution and venereal diseases. People have not realized that there is only one way of meeting the problem, namely by education. There was a more or less general feeling that prostitution was necessary and that it could not be entirely wiped out.
A disease that affects more people than tuberculosis, and is more prevalent than any contagious disease except measles, is gonorrhea. It is hardly conceivable that this disease and syphilis, the most terrible scourge of mankind, should not have been fought and controlled like small-pox or yellow fever. The reason is, because everyone knows that these diseases are the result of wrongdoing—therefore to talk about them is taboo.
The head of the National Public Health Service has said that where malaria exists it means we must do away with swamps; and, in the same way, to get rid of venereal diseases we must do away with the cause and source of the disease. Prostitution is the great transmitter of venereal disease. If prostitution is a necessity, let us recognize it as such and make the best of it. If it is not, let us blot it out. The experience of European armies in this war has shown its destructiveness to fighting efficiency. Thank God we have Secretaries of the Army and of the Navy who are back of the movement to eliminate it entirely from our own forces. One result of their efforts is shown in the fact that our army in France is using for other purposes a hospital which was built for venereal diseases. Only one-tenth of one per cent, of our soldiers are thus afflicted. This is the greatest record of any army in Christendom.
A well known military man said recently, "We have done all we can in the army, both by education and by treatment. We can do nothing more till the general public does its part." There has been some criticism of the rigid prophylactic measures adopted by our War Department. This same opposition was found in England at the beginning of the war, among church people and social workers. They felt it was only another method of regulating prostitution. As a result of this opposition the English army was materially handicapped. However, our army and navy do not stop with the prophylactic treatment. They also put forth consistent efforts to educate the men to the belief that safety lies only in continence. They are using every possible method to teach the boys self-control. Every man must attend lectures on hygiene, where he is told of the dangers he runs through self-indulgence, that the only way to keep clean is to stay away from the source of infection, and that at this time a man is a traitor who takes any chance of rendering himself unfit to fight.
* Director, Section on Women's Work, Social Hygiene Division, War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities, Washington.
It has been proven to be shameful truth, through the statistics of the examinations of the drafted men, that venereal disease is more prevalent in civilian communities than in the army.
It is quite as important that local communities should be educated as that the men of the army and navy should learn self-control. Indeed, if the war is to be won, it will be by the efficiency of labor as well as of fighting men.
Women are gradually securing more and more influence and political power. It is up to them to help the government in its campaign. Organizations of women, such as clubs of all kinds, have been asked to use a part of their program in educating themselves along these lines. They must help form public opinion. We have an opportunity such as we have never had before. The leading physicians of the country are taking the stand that continence is compatible with the highest physical and intellectual development. The United States government is behind us. If we take the stand now that we will blot out prostitution and venereal disease, we have the opportunity of the centuries to bring it to pass.
1. Mrs. Jessie D. Hodder, superintendent, Reformatory for Women, Framingham, Mass.: When the extent of the problem involved in the care of girls and women from war camps became evident, the United States government asked the existing reformatories to help in their care. The Massachusetts Reformatory for Women offered to care for 150 women. To date (May, 1918) we have 26.* All. so far, are from the southern camps. They are children really. They have worked in the cotton mills since they were 9 or 10 years of age. Then came the big emotion, and they drifted to the camps! Now they are in a reformatory in the North, getting the education they should have had long ago. Having arrested them, the question is, will the government hold them long enough to cure them of venereal disease? They are 100 per cent gonorrheics and 68 per cent syphilitic. The federal government needs a law relating to venereal disease similar to the Massachusetts law, which holds venerally infected persons until they are "no longer a menace to public health."
2. Albert S. Johnstone, secretary, State Board of Charities and Corrections, Columbia, S. C, said that the Governor of South Carolina was responsible for much of the social work of the state. The social legislation put through includes:
1. Insitution for mental defectives,