Added: December 5, 2015 – Last updated: August 5, 2017


Author: Victoria Bates

Title: Sexual Forensics in Victorian and Edwardian England

Subtitle: Age, Crime and Consent in the Courts

Place: Basingstoke and New York, NY

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Year: 2016

Pages: 216pp.

Series: Genders and Sexualities in History

ISBN-13: 9781137441706 (hardcover) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781137441713 (EPUB) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781137441720 (PDF) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 19th Century, 20th Century | European History: English History | Prosecution: Laws / Age of Consent; Prosecution: Trials / Expert Testimonies; Research: History of Medicine; Types: Child Sexual Abuse



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Springer Link (Restricted Access)


Author: Victoria Bates, Department of History, University of Bristol


  List of Figures (p. viii)
  Acknowledgements (p. ix)
  Introduction: Sex, Sexuality and Sexual Forensics (p. 1)
  1 Knowledge: The Foundations of Forensics (p. 22)
  2 Injury: Signs and the Sexual Body (p. 42)
  3 Innocence: Chastity and Character (p. 76)
  4 Consent: Violence and the Vibrating Scabbard (p. 105)
  5 Emotions: Medicine and the Mind (p. 132)
  6 Offenders: Lust and Labels (p. 158)
  Conclusions: Medicine, Morality and the Law (p. 190)
  Selected Bibliography (p. 197)
  Index (p. 201)

Description: »Sexual Forensics in Victorian and Edwardian England brings together the rich histories of childhood, crime, forensic medicine and sexuality. It puts the body at the centre of the modern history of sexual offences and shows that medical testimony in such cases was grounded in ideas about sexual maturity, which was a more ambiguous and flexible concept than the legal age of sexual consent. Sexual forensics opened up space for moral questions in the courtroom, particularly around the difficult question of when a 'child' became an 'adult'. It both responded to and reinforced age-based and gendered stereotypes of victimhood. This study makes an important contribution to histories of medicine and sexuality, and helps us better to understand the roots of 'rape myths' that still circulate today.« (Source: Palgrave Macmillan)


Burney, Ian. Bulletin of the History of Medicine 91(1) (Spring 2017): 134-135. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Grey, Daniel J.R. Medical History 60(4) (October 2016): 562-563. – Full Text: Cambridge University Press (Restricted Access)

LeJacq, Seth S. Social History of Medicine 30(2) (May 2017): 463-464. – Full Text: Oxford University Press (Restricted Access)

Neale, Alexa. Women's History Review 26(3) (2017): 518-520. – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Ruberg, Willemijn. Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis 13(2) (2016): 101-102. – Full Text: Ubiquity Press (Free Access)

Stevenson, Kim. Women's History Review 26(2) (2017): 317-318. – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Watson, Katherine D. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (July 13, 2017). – Full Text: Oxford University Press (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / Victorian era, Edwardian era | Law: Laws regarding rape / Age of consent | Medicine: Medical jurisprudence | Sex and the law: Child sexual abuse