The Impact of Women's Movement on Child Protection
Hon-Yei Annie Yu(Institute of Sociology, National Taiwan University)
Given the rich data of the American child protection, the impact of the women’s movement on child protection in the historical context is examined. The first wave of the protection movement based on an “individual moral discourse” in the late 19th century constructed child abuse as inadequate parent-child interaction restricted to particular families till the late 20th century. The second wave in the name of “medical discourse”, continued the social control perspective based on individual characteristics. The feminists, regarding child abuse as the demonstration of unequal gender relations within the family power structure, intended to decode the myth of “child abuse as domain of low SES families”, but the expansion of family law in the late 19th century further threatened the women’s movement. Reemerging in the 70’s, though viewing motherhood differently from the traditional child welfare scholars, feminists disclosed the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the families. Nevertheless, the arise of medical profession and male-dominant welfare discourse again eased the gender politics and power issue within a family.
In contrast to the close relation between women’s movement and child protection in the U.S., it is not so clear in Taiwan due to the limited history they held. However, in the case of “anti-child-prostitution”, interesting finding could be observed. Issues from “anti-prostitution” expanded to “anti-human- trafficking” and “human rights of mountain people”, and finally transformed into “anti-child-sexual-exploitation” which involved every concerned citizen. The community projects and legislations advocated by the women’s groups also enlarged child abuse prevention aspect. Although “child prostitution” provides an overlaping concern shared by women’s movement and child protection, does it also signalize “child” issue superior to “women” issue in nowadays Taiwan?
child abuse, child protection, medical discourse, women's movement, child prostitute, sexual exploitation