Author: Lynn Sacco
Author info: Assistant Professor of History
Publication Date: July 2009
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Synopsis: This history of father-daughter incest in the United States 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. Focusing on early twentieth-century reform movements and that era’s epidemic of child gonorrhea, Lynn 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. Sacco demonstrates that attitude shifts about patriarchal sexual abuse were influenced by a variety of individuals and groups seeking to protect their own interests.