From a 1970 copy of Forum magazine
I have followed with very great interest the correspondence in your magazine on corporal punishment, and although the many letters already published bear witness to its widespread practice both as a form of punishment and of stimulation, I would be very pleased if you would publish my letter, mainly for the benefit of parents who may be wondering whether to administer it to their children.
I am an only child. My father died when I was eight years old, leaving my mother (who was then 27) to look after me. About six months after his death, she told me that l had been a very naughty boy, making her life miserable, and that if I was ever naughty again she would ‘smack your bare bottom’.
It was not long after this that she found the opportunity to carry out her promise. I was promptly put over her lap, and indeed smacked on my bare bottom until I was crying. After this, she told me to go to bed and never be naughty again or the same would follow.
These bottom smackings, always in the traditional over-the-knee position, continued until I was about 13 years of age. My mother then adopted the use of a cane, the same type as used in schools, with a rounded handle. The cane was kept hung up on the chimney breast over the fireplace and was never taken down without my bottom feeling it!
For these canings, I was made to take down my trousers and underpants and bend over touching my toes, receiving either six or 12 strokes across my buttocks according to the seriousness of my misbehaviour.
I left school at 15 and when I commenced work, my mother told me that the cane was only for ‘naughty schoolboys’ and now that I was working for a living, a proper beating was required to keep me in line. She took me to a leather goods store in town and bought a short riding crop, explaining its future use to the saleswoman. I don’t know who was more embarrassed, the saleswoman or me.
My first beating with the riding crop was about two months later, when I broke a window with a football. Just before I went to bed, having already changed into my pyjamas, she took the crop down from the position once occupied by the cane. She told me I was going to get a dozen strokes with it for breaking the window. I was bent over the back of the settee, with my pyjama trousers around my ankles, and given the full 12 strokes, which made me scream and cry for about half an hour later. As I got older, the number of strokes increased and she would direct some strokes across my legs.
My last whipping was at the age of 20, for keeping my girlfriend out late. Her father complained to my mother. She invited him to come and see her and after a little talk, I was given 24 strokes with the riding crop, with my girlfriend’s father watching.
If anyone happened to be at our house when I was to be punished, either relatives or friends, irrespective of their sex, I was chastised in front of them to add to the humiliation. This was always worst when done in front of my cousin Jacqueline, who is only five months my junior. On numerous occasions I was caned and beaten with her watching. If we visited anyone else’s house and my mother thought I deserved a chastisement, she would not hesitate to carry it out.
Several of my aunts had canes tucked away in their sideboards which, at mother’s request, she would use on me.