The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 82
Suggestions for abating the Social Evil
Suggestions for abating the Social Evil.
I define the Social Evil to be the abuse of the sexual nature by the male, the female, or by both in consort The sexual nature is the great foundation of earthly human society, and is the means of our closest, dearest, and holiest fellowships; moreover, the working of the sexual nature deeply affects for weal or woe the coming generations. Therefore, every abuse of the sexual nature, either directly or indirectly, injures society in its vital parts; and, therefore, every abuse of sexual powers belongs to the Social Evil.
The more prominent forms of the Social Evil are (1) female prostitution—that is the female making herself common to many men for the sake of gain or pleasure; (2) male prostitution, when a male, out of the lust which is in him, consorts with many women, and is so vile as to consort with women whom he knows to be ofttimes visited by many other men. There are ten times as many male prostitutes in the world as female. Though male prostitutes pay money to the female prostitute, and often hold a high head, do remember, in dealing with the Social Evil, the existence and large proportions of the male prostitution. Then there is unnatural lust, of which nothing need be said. Onanism, masturbation, or self-abuse, is another very grievous form of the Social Evil, which fathers, mothers, and the keepers of boarding schools, both male and female, should be very wary of.
Then there are seduction and illegitimacy, which are very different things from prostitution, though full of shame and sufferings, both to the sinning individuals and to society.
Now it stands confessed that this Social Evil when regarded in its causes, its consequences, its wide extent, its vested interests, its traditions, and its antiquity is exceedingly difficult to deal with. Yet if the human race are to be lifted into a higher plane of life, and are to enjoy longer, happier, healthier, stronger, and holier years, all the friends of progress, all the workers for "the good time coming," must join forces; face, and overthrow the Social Evil; or else the Social Evil will overthrow us, and produce moral, physical, industrial, and social degradation as well as religious.
Gentlemen, you tell me that the Social Evil is an ancient evil : then the more reason why we should attack it. You tell page 4 me the Social Evil is a mighty evil, devastating families, states, and nations. You tell me that it has destroyed some of the grand races. Very well; all the more reason why we should brace our energies to destroy this great destroyer.
I pray you that in the consideration of such suggestions as I am aoout to offer, you will keep in mind the nature and power of the evil, and the vast gain of even material amelioration. I do not expect that we are to destroy this thing in a day, or by one agency; but I think that by the diligent use of various means, and by lengthened and sustained effort, we may do much to rid the world of this source of sorrow, of suffering, and of shame.
I now proceed to the first main division :—