--Lazy idle little loafer! cried the prefect of studies. Broke my glasses! An old schoolboy trick! Out with your hand this moment!
Stephen closed his eyes and held out in the air his trembling hand with the palm upwards. He felt the prefect of studies touch it for a moment at the fingers to straighten it and then the swish of the sleeve of the soutane and the pandybat was lifted to strike. A hot burning stinging tingling blow like the loud crack of a broken stick made his trembling hand crumple together like a leaf in the fire: and at the sound and the pain scalding tears were driven into his eyes. His whole body was shaking with fright, his arm was shaking and his crumpled burning livid hand shook like a loose leaf in the air. A cry sprang to his lips, a prayer to be let off. But though the tears scalded his eyes and his limbs quivered with pain and fright he held back the hot tears and the cry that scalded his throat.
--Other hand! shouted the prefect of studies.
Some spanking proponents say paddling and spanking “must be painful” to have a good effect, while others say the humiliation aspects are the “real deterrent” and the spanking or paddling itself can be very mild. What I’ve heard from young women in paddling schools is that both elements are very strong. There is often, for example, a great deal of unnecessary ritual sexual humiliation and display forced upon victims, such as assuming and holding the bent over “position” before or after the hitting. Brutality is also common. The typically male paddlers hit all the young women we interviewed very hard every time. Redness that lasts for more than 20 hours, and bruises that lasted for a week, were common injuries.
--James Joyce, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” 41
| “Extra brutality” is often meted out specifically to adult teen women. It is justified with statements like; “If you still need to be paddled at your age then you’re really going to feel it.” Of course this idiotic statement implies that the young woman “needs to be paddled hard” because of her age alone. This imagined need of the victim to be beaten, quite apart from any wrong doing, serves to “work up” a justification for brutality that simply would not be merited by the “offense.” This, of course, assumes a person thinks that brutality and the sexual exploitation of children and teens could possibly be merited by any offense. If anything her age at 17 or 18 should imply that she is sexually developed and is approaching, or is in fact already, a legal adult, and is thus too old to be “spanked.” To sexually aroused Neanderthals in paddling schools, however, a pretty teen girl turning 18 means she “needs to be paddled extra hard.”|
| Incidentally it is worth noting that hand beating, such as the fictional incident described by Joyce opening this chapter, has caused many crippling injuries and has resulted in some very large damage awards. It is one form of brutality where the sexual aspects are reduced but where physical injuries are more likely. Hand beating is little practiced these days due to the reduced sexual fun for the hitter and the heightened risk of physical harm to the child. We’ll concentrate on the more common and sexually charged practice of buttocks beating.|
| Ann Landers ran a letter where the brutality aspects were completely missing from a home "spanking,” and yet the children still greatly feared “going over dad’s knee.” It was, in fact, very uncomfortable in an incestuous way if we really open our eyes and admit what was really going on. The feeling would not be much different if the child had to pull her panties down and display her bare buttocks for a few minutes for punishment and then pull them back up. There would be no brutality, no “visible scars” or injuries, no “permanent injuries” in the very narrow physical definition our courts look at when they examine child beating cases, and yet many of us would see that there could yet be tremendous psychological damage. This is, nonetheless, an interesting letter that shows an uncommon extreme of using humiliation alone in spanking without any real physical assault. Here we can separate the two elements and take a look at clothed, yet sexually charged, spanking humiliation without brutality. In this case there is also the added humiliation of being a laughing stock to observers.|
Dear Ann Landers: Will you print one more letter about spanking? I think my father had the right idea.
Whenever any of us kids misbehaved, my father would turn us over his knee and spank us with the side of a toothpick. This, of course, would bring down the house laughing, and believe me, the humiliation was worse than any beating. If we ever acted up all my father had to do was pat his shirt pocket where the toothpick was, and we would settle down.
When my first child was born, Dad sent me a “paddle” carved from a tongue depressor with instructions on how to use it. Sweet? --Whipped in Wyoming
Dear Wyoming: Your father sounds like a dear man with a delightful sense of humor. Consider yourself blessed, and pass it on to the next generation. That original toothpick should be a family heirloom. Encase it in glass, and frame it.
--Ann Landers, Detroit Free Press, c early December 2000.
| Although the anecdote above is funny and shows a loving father and grateful children, personally I would not recommend the above treatment because of the humiliation involved. It was, however, a fairly enlightened way for a man to raise his kids if the society around him expected him to hit them hard. Whatever else it was, it was clearly not physically harmful or brutal. The school equivalent might be if current paddles were replaced with “nurf paddles.” The kids could still “bend over the desk and spread their legs” or otherwise assume whatever position each particular principal likes them to assume and the “form” of the paddling could be carried out without any danger of physical injury or torture. The “nurf paddlings,” like this woman’s spankings, would probably be just as “effective” as our current brutal school beatings simply because they would retain many of the sexually humiliating and degrading aspects.|
| For the rest of this section we will largely ignore the humiliation and sexual abuse factors and concentrate on physical brutality. Our paddling principals are not using toothpicks or nurf paddles to beat our children. They are brutalizing children and performing physical abuse as a matter of routine policy. Torture is not too strong a word for what goes on in many schools. Many children have been documented with post traumatic stress disorder as a result. Most children, of course, no matter how abused or injured, never see any doctor or psychologist. They simply suffer in silence the rest of their lives.|