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Products for grant FT-259759-18

The Science of Proof: Forensic Medicine in Nineteenth-Century France
Erin Cage, University of South Alabama

Grant details:

Child Sexual Abuse and Medical Expertise in Nineteenth-Century France (Article)
Title: Child Sexual Abuse and Medical Expertise in Nineteenth-Century France
Author: E. Claire Cage
Abstract: Child sexual abuse was a prevalent problem that appeared before the courts with dramatically increasing frequency in nineteenth-century France. During this period, medical experts played a much more influential role in the courts; however, those summoned to intervene in child sexual assault cases not only bolstered but also undermined efforts to bring offenders to justice. Many doctors who could not detect physical traces of sexual abuse concluded that the assault had never occurred and that the child's accusation was false. Furthermore, doctors routinely cast moral judgements on those identified as victims of sexual abuse. The understandings of childhood innocence that engendered new efforts to combat child sexual abuse were called into question by the simultaneous rise of medico-legal experts, whose frequent negative findings led many to discount accusations of abuse and to maintain that children, particularly girls and working-class children, were not as innocent as they seemed.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: (forthcoming)
Access Model: Subscription only
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: French Historical Studies
Publisher: French Historical Studies/Duke University Press