Friday essay: how the moral panic over ‘sexual sadists’ silenced their victims


Between the 1920s and the 1950s, sexual sadism was widely discussed in Australian newspapers.

Ironically, attempts to ban the Marquis de Sade’s books gave journalists an excuse to write about them, thus spreading knowledge of this “perversion”.

  • Joanna Bourke
  • The Conversation

Public awareness of sadism also incited social panic, provoked by a series of highly publicised murders of Australian women.

Bow 2bOne of these was the mutilation and killing of Dorothy (“Dot”) May Everett in Newcastle in November 1937.

Everett was a 27-year-old kitchenmaid who worked at the Broughton Church of England School for Boys.

After a night at the…

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