I grew up in Sydney Australia in the 1960s when corporal punishment of children at home was already starting to go out of fashion, though I suspect it was still the norm. I had been smacked when younger, on the legs, sometimes with a stick, but nothing as formal as a spanking over the knee.
However, I did receive a spanking at primary school in 1960, when I was 8, being drawn over the male teacher’s lap and given several sharp whacks with a pair of wooden rulers on my short pants. He held the rulers in his fingers only and sort of played paddy-whack on our little bottoms. It was only light but it stung. I remember sitting there afterwards thinking my face was probably as red as my bum felt.
I remember also seeing another boy spanked maybe a few weeks before I got mine, and being fascinated by the sight of his bottom, with his pants stretched, being hit with the rulers. The funny thing is that these memories lay dormant for 50 years, and suddenly sprang into my mind about 5 years ago, previously completely forgotten. I remember thinking how strange it was that I had not remembered it before, as I have had a lifelong fascination with CP and bottoms.
Spanking was a reasonably regular feature in popular culture on those days. I remember the one in Elvis Presley’s movie ‘Blue Hawaii’, the ones in the TV series ‘Rawhide’ and ‘Wagon Train’, and the caning in ‘Tom Sawyer’. All were specially noted by me, trying not to make it obvious of course. When I read Fiona Locke’s book ‘Over the knee’ recently, I related strongly to her character as it was like I was reading about myself and I think there must have been a significant element of autobiography in that book. It’s a shame she didn’t write more.
At high school we were still caned in those days; it didn’t stop until the 1990s in NSW, I think, but only on the hand. In fact, it was on the fingers not the palms because of the risk of damage, so already it was tightly controlled, at least in State Government-run schools.
I was caned twice for playing up in class, but the man who did it was not nasty enough to make much impact; it was quite benign really. 3 strokes the first time, 4 the second time (2 on each hand), it only made the fingers throb for a while afterwards, nothing like the extreme canings on knickers I have read about on this website, which would have made far more of an impact on us.
My main memory of my teenage years is in fact of not being punished at home when I felt I deserved it, and after thinking about this for years I am sure I can remember 3 instances when I felt I deserved a good thrashing for some behaviour, but didn’t get it because my parents were followers of Dr Spock. I can even remember thinking at the time that I needed a thrashing and experiencing the inner conflict of feeling I had ‘gotten away with’ something, and the guilt that went round and round in my head afterwards. I think that is actually where my interest in CP originates.
Of course it’s possible that the teacher’s spanking led to those thoughts about deserving punishment, so that it results from pre-conditioning. But there are also the cultural inputs from TV, film, cartoons and novels combined with my own nature; I was a sensitive, small, perhaps timid boy. Perhaps the spanking only triggered a submissive tendency that was there already? Interesting to speculate about, anyway, and there is no doubt about my lifelong fascination in CP, it came from somewhere.
Finally I would like to make a comment about the stories I have read on this website which are mostly are about experiences in the UK and mostly about school. As a libertarian Australian, I find them quite extreme and think that the discipline was authoritarian, that it was intended to control, not teach, and I would say that it highlights a characteristic of British society. However I recognise that others might say that Australians are too individualist and could have done with more of that control themselves.
Also, surprisingly in most cases the recipient telling the story felt it was justified and deserved. This surprises me because obviously I am the product of a lenient regime and I am reading about kids being caned often on their knickers which is quite an ordeal for an early teenage child. But it also reminds me of my own memories of deserving punishment when I was 13 and not getting it, and the conflict that resulted, so maybe it’s not that surprising really.
The story that had the greatest impact on me is Melanie’s account of her caning at age 11; 6 strokes of the cane on the knickers of an 11 year old girl? This wasn’t punishment; this was abuse and I think that headmaster should have gone to gaol. I can well imagine MH coming to terms with that memory in later life, and finally being able to confront it and write about it, which she did with great dignity and feeling and I thank her for sharing so much with us and I hope she did not suffer too much trauma. That could easily have been a life-changing experience for her.