Louise's story
Received January 14, 2000

The following account was originally posted to the website of Robin Warnes (http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/rwarnes)
I would like you to add my story to the seemingly endless list of abuse, sadness and horror, much of which I still have to read. It is terribly important that as many stories as possible must be recorded so as to make absolutely sure this aggressive, abusive and damaging practice NEVER returns to haunt our children or their children. Thank you for making a site that has, I have no doubt, helped a lot of people see the horrors of corporal punishment. I guess one day I may be able to overcome what you read. Somehow I find it hard to believe and think that I am going to be afflicted by it one way or the other forever. Good luck in your life.

I am 31 years old and undergoing psychotherapy for a number of childhood issues. One of the issues that has had a very negative effect on me and my development as an adult is corporal punishment. I read the "Cane Lovers" page and was highly upset to see that people still have the attitude that archaic, mindless barbarism has a place in modern society. The statement I read, "Beating is actually Love," filled me with a sense of dread. How many times had we heard that people were beating or abusing us for our own good and because they loved us? It is a statement that continues to this day that makes the victim of abuse think that it is their fault they are being abused/beaten and not the fault of an adult with the control and power to do such wicked things to defenseless children.

Abusive adults and pedophiles have managed and still manage to infiltrate into schools, care homes and other such places where vulnerable children are preyed on consistently. When, in the UK, caning was legal and condoned by society as an effective form of punishment, it was a dream come true for the teachers with sexual and aggressive tendencies towards children. It is known that an abuser of children will prey on the weakest and most vulnerable. With such a weapon as the cane to feed the desires of an abuser, the prey is easily torn apart and defiled. Left with emotional scars that run far deeper than the physical ones inflicted. How can any normal person in society still think that this behavior can be endorsed?

MY STORY

I was caned approximately 60 times in a period of four years between the ages of seven and eleven, mostly for trivial things such as forgetting books, dropping things and getting low marks in tests. These beatings were given out amidst a backdrop of sexual abuse and bullying. At no time did teachers or my parents ever consider the devastating effect on my mind. The physical pain would heal quickly, but the deep mental scars have remained for many, many years. For me this period in my life was so harming that in order to protect myself the only thing I could do having no control over the events was to "switch off." Life became very vague and disengaged from my emotions. It is only recently (in the last four years) that I have been able to climb out of this prison and have found some strength to face the realities of what happened to me and the effects it has had on my adulthood.

The school I attended, I am sure, used the cane as a source of sexual amusement as well as the sense of power achieved through humiliation and the actual act. Time after time the ritualistic behavior of the teachers involved was the real menace to my mental health. Not only was it sufficient to beat a seven-year-old to tears, extreme fright and panic but also to intensify the anxiety manyfold by delaying tactics and other methods of heightening the anxiety I went through.

A typical example of this was when I was caught one day sitting under a fir tree playing with some pine cones at the age of eight. It was an area that was "out of bounds." I was told the same day and then beaten 5 days later. On the consequent days I was reminded I was "in for it"; before breakfast, lunch and tea, and sometimes before assembly if I was standing in the wrong place.

"Enjoy your lunch," he would say, a dry smirk on his disgusting and evil face. "I'll be seeing you later." Then he would walk away calmly. How did that affect me? My stomach was in turmoil; I felt sick and very nervous; I would shake. I would also not be able to eat anything substantial, so I would lose weight and be ashen-faced and completely withdrawn. When the final day came, the teacher said nothing to me, he ignored me. I could have almost believed he may have thought that the intimidation was enough punishment on its own until, in the middle of lunch that day, he stood up just before pudding was served and asked to see me after lunch.

"I would know what to expect," he said and raised his eyebrows at me knowingly. The rest of the school (again around 300 ) became turbulent with noise as they all made a caning noise with their mouths. I went cold. I trembled uncontrollably. An overwhelming sense of fear came over me. I was in shock--the same symptoms of someone who has been in an accident. I thought I might pass out. I then had to wait another twenty minutes outside the study as the entire school shuffled past slowly watching the condemned, still shaking. When the teacher arrived I could hardly stand up, weak from a week's worth of extreme anxiety and feeling sick, little food and feeling very isolated and frightened and unable to resolve my own situation of horror. I begged him not to, but to no avail. The teacher lapped up every enjoyable detail of my angst and pain. He had no qualms or questions of morality, only his own private satisfaction. A dry and evil-looking smile ran across his face as he chose the cane he would use, taking his time so I could look at the row of seven or so implements he had racked in a modified snooker cabinet.

He laid the cane out in front of me on his desk and sat down and he talked of the school discipline and how any person caught crossing him would be severely punished. He then stood up and picked up the cane that I was now transfixed by terror with. He walked around the desk slowly and then told me to bend over his armchair. I already had tears in my eyes and a condemned feeling of resignation. I bent down and felt his big hand grip my shoulder and push down on me.

I felt the pain searing and tearing into me as the rushing noise stopped as abruptly as it had started. I knew I had another three to go, and I bit hard into my lip anticipating the next stroke, my eyes full of tears and tightly shut. The noise started again--the whooshing of the stick through the air was terrifying--and the crack as the cane smashed into my buttocks with tremendous force. The headmaster's massive hand continued to hold my shoulder firmly so I couldnít move. His right arm drew the stick towards the ceiling, and the strike landed accurately and painfully across the line of the first stroke.

I felt the tears welling up; I couldnít control them. My face was now wet and contorted. I felt the wanting of protection from my parents, but I knew there was none. This was a punishment they condoned. I wanted to cuddle my dog. I wanted the peace of my bedroom at home twenty miles away. I wanted to be miles away. I wanted to be so far away that this man could never touch me again.

The final stroke laid onto the second, as calculated and accurate as any sportsman who uses a utensil to propel a ball to a goal. The smarting wounds now stung bitterly and throbbed.

"Now get out," the teacher said coldly.

I escaped from the cold, dark foreboding room. I wanted to run, run forever, but I just walked hurriedly lest I be summoned for more aggression for running in the corridors to my classroom. I could barely see the door knob, as the tears had blurred my vision. The noise of young children playing marbles, swapping things and playing tag in the playground filled my ears. My pain was isolated, my sorrow uninteresting.

I went to my desk, folded my arms, buried my head and sobbed. A sympathetic and lonely individual tried to comfort me as my shoulders shook and heaved.

I sobbed for a long time. I sobbed for my painful wounds. I sobbed for the humiliation. I sobbed for the coldness--the lack of emotion, of understanding. I sobbed for the chaos raging in my head. I sobbed for my parents' lack of care, who thought this was a good thing for their child.

I would eventually return to the dormitory to endure more humiliations and more disturbances that would help to ruin my life.

This was one of twenty eight-episodes. It was one of the worst. I was first caned at the age of seven for swapping beds with another because I wanted to be by the window and the other child didnít.

How can anyone say that this happened to build my character? Someone at the age of thirty-one that won't allow physical contact with any one. Someone who cannot trust anyone. Someone with no sense of self-security or happiness, one with little self-esteem or the ability to use one's own resources. Someone who will never forgive the regime that calamatised my life.

For anybody who thinks this is a great thing to do to people, take a look at a child who is seven--really look at them--and ask yourself if you think it is OK for a man who weighs around 250 pounds to beat that child with a stick.

Thank you for sharing your experiences on the web. No doubt there are the millions who were unaffected by being caned, but there are also the hundreds of thousand that were, these people needed protecting from such horror, and ALL children must be protected from pedophiles.

I am one who has been damaged and can gain a little strength from the experience of others and knowing that I am not alone in my plight for freedom of my fears. Good luck to you and whatever you do.

Louise

January 2000


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