NYSPCCNew York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (since 1875)
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I argue that the NYSPCC officer's concern to render Rosa passive, rather than reflecting a concern to control female sexuality, was part of an effort to fit her to jurors' understandings of childhood, and, by so doing, to have them extend to her the protection from sexual violence that they were only prepared to offer to children.
The second group comprised leaders of the child protection movement, most notably Elbridge Gerry, the founder of the NYSPCC, the society that provided the model for child protection organizations established throughout the English-speaking world in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
(18) Responsibility for enforcing laws based on the increased age of consent lay with the NYSPCC, as the central role played by an officer of the Society in Rosa's case highlights.
NYSPCC officers rendered such testimonies as narratives in which a man acted, and a girl was acted upon, narratives that made the girl an object, that emphasized her passivity.
Admittedly, the advantages of size, strength and authority that adult men had over young girls like Anita certainly left those girls little scope for struggle, but clearly the NYSPCC officer preparing the above brief had not been concerned to elaborate what Anita herself had done.
When confronted by police or NYSPCC officers, a majority of males admitted, as did Louis Morelli in my opening example, that they had sexual intercourse with an underage girl.
(3.) Statement of Rosa Colletti, "taken by Officer F., in [NYSPCC's] rooms, January 20th, 1916"; NYSPCC Report of Investigation; and Brief, in DACCF 109033 (1916).
For the NYSPCC, see Elizabeth Pleck, Domestic Tyranny: The Making of Social Policy Against Family Violence from Colonial Times to the Present (New York, 1987); and Lela Costin, Howard Jacob Karger, and David Stoesz, The Politics of Child Abuse in America (New York, 1996).