Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

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First published: July 1, 2023 - Last updated: July 1, 2023


Author: Louise Hide

Title: In Plain Sight

Subtitle: Open Doors, Mixed-sex Wards and Sexual Abuse in English Psychiatric Hospitals, 1950s-Early 1990s

Journal: S ocial History of Medicine: The journal of the Society for the Social History of Medicine

Volume: 31

Issue: 4: Cultures of Harm in Institutions of Care

Year: November 2018

Pages: 732-753 (Published online: November 8, 2018)

pISSN: 0951-631X - Find a Library: WorldCat | eISSN: 1477-4666 - Find a Library: WorldCat


Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | European History: English History | Types: Sexual Assault; Victims: Social Status / Patients


Link: Oxford Academic (Free Access)


Author: Louise Hide, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London

  Summary (p. 732)
  Introduction (p. 732)
  1950s-1960s (p. 735)
    From segregation to integration (p. 735)
    Mixed-sex wards and the 'psychopathic offender' (p. 738)
    Male staff, female wards (p. 742)
    Gender, mental disorder and sexuality (p.. 743)
  1970s-1980s (p. 747)
    Feminism (p. 748)
    From dangerousness to risk (p. 751)
  Conclusion (p. 752)
  Acknowledgement (p. 753)

Summary: »This article investigates the consequences of unlocking psychiatric wards and allowing male and female patients and staff to mix freely in the post-war period. I argue that the sexes were allowed to socialise with each other primarily for the benefit of male patients, and that some superintendents were 'blind' to the dangers of sexual abuse to which female patients were exposed, especially given the growing number of male 'sexual psychopaths' who were being admitted to open wards. While male nurses did complain about mixed wards in the mid 1960s, it was not until the rise of feminism and patient activism that the extent of sexual abuse and violence in hospitals began to be revealed a decade later. By the 1980s, despite calls to return to segregated living, psychiatric hospitals were no longer able to fund single-sex wards, exposing many women to sexual danger and deterring them from seeking help as in-patients.« (Source: Social History of Medicine)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / Postwar Britain (1945-1979) | Hospital: Psychiatric hospital / Psychiatric hospitals in England | Sex and the law: Sexual violence