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The Devil's ChainProstitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland$
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Keely Stauter-Halsted

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801454196

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801454196.001.0001

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The Physician and the Fallen Woman

The Physician and the Fallen Woman

(p.236) Chapter 8 The Physician and the Fallen Woman
The Devil's Chain

Keely Stauter-Halsted

Cornell University Press

This chapter explains how physicians effectively leveraged the panic over prostitution. They imposed “objective” standards on suspected “prostitutes,” and defined the parameters of prostitution in broad terms—for example, they differentiated “secret” prostitutes with those who practiced venal sex full-time. Some doctors recommended entire categories of female workers be subjected to police inspection on the assumption that they were selling sex in their off hours. To combat the venereal plague that became rampant due to prostitution, venereologists coaxed their patients into accepting painful and often disfiguring procedures. Despite these behaviors, the medical community during the early years of regulation believed that “fallen women” could be assimilated back into healthy society once they left prostitution.

Keywords:   prostitutes, secret prostitutes, venal sex, female workers, venereologists, fallen women

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