(8.) Other factors of minor importance which were mentioned in evidence were the modern dress of women, which was stated to be in certain cases sexually suggestive, and certain modern forms of dancing. There appears some grounds to suppose that dances conducted under undesirable conditions contribute to sexual immorality, but the Committee see no reason to condemn dancing generally because the coincident conditions under which it has been or is conducted in some cases have contributed to impropriety. The cinema was stated by some witnesses to have an immoral tendency both in the nature of the pictures presented and in the conditions under which they are viewed by the audience. The Committee suggest that a stricter censorship might with advantage be exercised, and should include the posters advertising the films.
It has been stated that venereal disease has increased in New Zealand with the return of the Expeditionary Force from overseas. Ample evidence, however, was given to the Committee that there has been no increase of the disease due to returned soldiers. These men were treated prior to their discharge until non-infective.
PART III.—BEST MEANS OF COMBATING AND PREVENTING VENEREAL DISEASE.
SECTION 1.—EDUCATION AND MORAL CONTROL.
There is no question that the most effective way of avoiding venereal disease is to refrain from promiscuous sexual intercourse. The problem which the Committee have been asked to consider has very important medical aspects, but, while these must not be neglected, it is essential to the health and well-being of the nation that the enemy should be attacked with every moral and spiritual weapon:—
Self reverence, self-knowledge,
These three alone lead life to sovereign power.
The absence of proper training and instruction of the young is undoubtedly responsible for a great deal of the evil which has been shown to exist. Children are led into bad habits through ignorance, and young men and young women grow up with utterly false ideals of life, and in many cases fall into deplorable laxity of conduct.
There is an impression among many young men that chastity is either impossible or at least is inconsistent with physical health. There is the highest medical authority for stating that this notion is absolutely wrong, while there is no difference of opinion whatever as to the serious risks of contracting diseases of a very loathsome character incurred by those who do not restrain their passions. Apart from this aspect of the question, it must be obvious to every thinking person that looseness of conduct between the sexes such as is shown to exist in New Zealand is destructive to the high ideals of family life associated with the finest types of British manhood and womanhood, and if not checked must lead to the decadence of the nation.