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Patron saint of prostitutes : Josephine Butler and the Victorian sex scandal
Patron saint of prostitutes : Josephine Butler and the Victorian sex scandal
Mathers, Helen2021
Articles
The 'steel rape' of women is a scandal that's almost forgotten today. In Victorian England, police forces were granted powers to force any woman they suspected of being a 'common prostitute' to undergo compulsory and invasive medical examinations, while women who refused to submit willingly - some as young as 13 - could be arrested and incarcerated. This scandal was exposed by Josephine Butler, an Evangelical campaigner who didn't rest until she'd ended the violation and helped repeal the Act that governed it. She went on to campaign against child prostitution, the trafficking of frightened girls from Britain to Europe, and government-sponsored brothels in India. In addition, she was instrumental in raising the age of consent from 13 to 16. This is the poignant tale of a 19th-century woman who challenged taboos and conventions in order to campaign for the rights of her gender.
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