Rush, Florence, 1918-

Alternative names
Birth 1918-01-23
Death 2008-12-09

Biographical notes:

Rush worked in a machine shop during World War II. She and her family later lived in Westchester County, N.Y.; she researched and wrote about child abuse.

From the description of Papers, 1971-1974 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232007874

Feminist and social worker Florence Rush (1918-2008) created a sensation in her talk, "The Sexual Abuse of Children: A Feminist Point of View," presented at the April 1971 conference of New York Radical Feminists. Arguing against prevailing Freudian theories which saw children as the seducers of adults, Rush based her paper on her observations as a psychiatric social worker at a facility for delinquent girls and at the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She subsequently published "Freud and the Sexual Abuse of Children" in Chrysalis and The Best Kept Secret: The Sexual Abuse of Children (1980) which pointed to the sexual abuse of children as a political and patriarchal issue.

A co-founder of Older Women's Liberation (OWL) in 1970, Rush was a founder and speaker for Women Against Pornography (1979-1987), chair of the Media Reform Committee of the National Organization for Women (1980-1985), and a member of the board of directors of New York Women Against Rape. Rush was married to Bernard Rush; they had three children. When her younger son was stricken with AIDS in the mid-1980s, she formed one of the first mothers' support groups, and was involved with the People With AIDS Coalition of New York. In 2005 she was honored with the New York City NOW chapter's Susan B. Anthony Award to grassroots feminists.

From the description of Papers of Florence Rush, 1941-1996 (inclusive), 1971-1996 (bulk). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 426124269


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Ark ID:


  • Child abuse
  • Sex in mass media
  • Social workers
  • AIDS (Disease)--Patients--Family relationships
  • Incest victims
  • Feminists
  • Women--Social conditions
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Women's rights
  • Pornography--Law and legislation
  • Rape--Prevention
  • Pornography--Social aspects
  • Feminism
  • Self-help groups


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  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)