"I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I was so frightened I stuttered. "Not as sorry as you're gonna be." He pulled his belt free from the loops and wrapped the buckle end around his palm. "I've waited a long time to do this, too long."
--from Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina (p. 106)
| Corrie Ten Boom, in The Hiding Place , wrote about meeting a former Nazi soldier who worked at the concentration camp where she had been a prisoner. He approached her some years later in Germany during her speaking tour to promote post-war reconciliation. He had repented for his part in the Holocaust and expressed gratitude for her message of Christian forgiveness. She found that when confronted face-to-face with this man, however, she simply did not have it within herself to forgive him. She was overcome not by her feelings of anger, but by emptiness. As much as she wanted to practice what she preached, even trying to be pleasant and reassuring him, she was mentally unable to pardon his atrocities--although she said she was at last able to channel Christ's forgiveness to him.|
| The guard who had once been so "on top" and "in control" at the concentration camp was now painfully vulnerable. The enormity of his spiritual crimes overwhelmed him, even though they seemed like “routine” wartime necessities, were socially acceptable, and were “part of the job” at the time. Even forgiveness from his victims, assuming they were able to grant it, would not fully resolve the horrendous sins of abuse, rape, torture and wholesale murder.|
| Ask yourself which would grieve you more, for your child to be murdered--or a murderer? As much as we want our kids alive and humanely treated, I think knowing that your child deliberately and without just cause took another person's life would be harder to take as a parent than if he or she were the victim. The one who is murdered suffers destruction of the body, grave injustice, and a too-early exit from this life, whereas the one who murders reveals a tragically deranged soul.|
| It is likewise truly sad, and the greatest of perversions, to take pleasure in inflicting pain and humiliation on another. It requires the abuser to tune out the victim's personhood or else delude himself into thinking, for instance, that the beating he's about to give is "good for her" and that "she needs to be paddled--HARD." Such are the bold lies paddling principals tell themselves to better enjoy their jobs, undistracted by conscience. Should they ever look closely into their victims' eyes, however, they will see the false nature of these rationales. Despite their best effort to push this revelation to the back of their minds, images of battered, frightened and dejected children and adolescents may haunt them in years to come.|
| Frequently, these men like to joke with students before injuring them in a barbaric and humiliating fashion, followed by a few more jokes with which the "chastised" are dismissed. The trivializing humor is all casually mixed into the proceedings, as if to suggest a business-as-usual atmosphere. After it's all done with, the traumatized, injured, pornographically violated and humiliated student is expected to just walk back to class as though she had just been meeting with a college admissions advisor or something.|
| Indeed, the student who finds herself obliged to submit to a painful traumatic assault on a sexual part of her anatomy has been advised of her "disciplinary options" and hereby "chose" this assault, assuming a choice was even offered, rather than damage her academic standing. If she is involved in sports or cheerleading, to avoid letting down her teammates, coach, and school (maybe college recruiters as well), she may be further railroaded into “choosing the paddle” since, for no explicable reason, her paddlers devise rules that allow her to play sports if she chooses to be paddled, but not if she chooses the “ISS option.” With all this fulfillment of dryly-worded school policy, you might not notice that her situation is in nearly perfect correspondence with quid pro quo workplace sexual harassment. What's more, the principal who beats her may be considered "friendly" because he jokes with her while he does it, letting her know he's "not mad at her." Of course, he still "has to hit her hard" because "that's his job.” Her pain has to be "meaningful," but he's "actually a real nice guy" whose jokes mercifully "lighten the atmosphere" of the ritual abuse he is dishing out. In reality, however, the event is made all the more disturbing by his casual and good-humored tone, as well as more insulting in that his jokes trivialize her pain and fear.|