Dear Mr. Riak,
When I was a little girl and my mother thought I required discipline, she would pull me face down across her lap and give me a series of stinging slaps of her hand on my bare buttocks while I cried. In fifteen seconds it was over. I would be in tears and clutching my bottom for a minute or so, but it didn't really hurt much after that, just a hot itch. My rear end would be a solid pink right afterwards. But in a few hours it would be back to normal. And that was that.
I was not "abused" as a child, just "spanked with love." She never left a bruise when she "lovingly spanked" me. The permanent marks were inside, not outside.
Mother firmly believed in spankings as discipline for her children because they "worked" so well. All she needed to do if my behavior displeased her was say, "Carol, do you want a spanking?" and that would frighten me into obeying her. And if she told me to do the dishes and I didn't do them very well and got spanked for it you can bet those dishes were unusually spotless for the next couple of days. But spankings also left me with lifelong emotional and sexual problems that I still don't know how to fix despite years of therapy. My mother got an obedient daughter and cleaner dishes and I got a lifelong mess inside me.
If I were growing up today, Mother could post on parenting web forums about how "effective" spankings are as discipline for her daughters. She could brush aside concerns about emotional harm saying "an hour after I spank her, Carol is happily playing or doing her chores." She could talk about my good grades in school. She could talk about how polite I am and respectful to my elders, and how she gets compliments from other adults about what a good girl I am in public. And if anyone tried to warn her that she might give her child a fetish, she could laugh and say, "Carol would never turn out like that. She hates to be spanked!" And nothing she said would be a lie.
I tried so hard to be good. But sooner or later I always found myself face down across my mother's lap getting yet another spanking. I just couldn't control it - except in my fantasies. In fantasy I could make everything happen just so, as if it really were under my control. My mother's preferred discipline method emotionally upset me so much that I sexualized it - everything about it: the kind of clothing she wore and I wore, the things she would say before and after my spanking, the position she put me in, on and on. Fantasy let me cope with my trauma and get a pretend feeling of control over something really out of my control. When I imagined myself as a naughty girl over her Mommy's lap getting her bare little bottom spanked I pictured myself crying and begging the Mommy to stop. Yet it was my fantasy so really I had total control. And by eroticizing, I made something awful and frightening into something delightful and pleasant.
And it worked. Becoming a spankophile at an early age kept me from falling apart. It comforted me when nothing else could. It made me feel in control when I wasn't. And it gave me a make-believe escape from something for which there was no true escape. (How do you escape when it's your very own Mommy who is hurting you???) And now I am stuck with it for the rest of my life.
Parents who say, "it didn't do me any harm so it can't do my child any harm" just don't get it. Everyone is different. My mother got spanked when she was little, and she carried on the same tradition with my sister and me. But my mother didn't become a spankophile. And although my sister got the same kinds of punishments as I did - across the same lap and from the same palm - she didn't become a spankophile either. But I did. There is no way you can tell beforehand which of your spanked children will have a guilty sexualized fixation for the rest of her life. So any parent who spanks their child is putting them at risk. Punishing your child with spankings is just like playing a lottery where if you "win" you mess up your kid for life.
Most spanked kids don't turn out as obsessed as me. But some of us do. And we aren't rare. Growing up I knew two other little girls who both got spanked by their parents and who both loved to play House the same way I did: with play spankings, play spankings, and more play spankings all afternoon without ever getting bored. (At least two of us were strict disciplinarians of our dolls, too!) One girl would even get me to pretend to be her real life mother so we could re-enact actual episodes for which she had been disciplined in her home. For me to meet two others so like myself in this way would be almost impossible if kids like me were rare.
Now I am retired, unmarried, childless, on medication for depression. At a tender age I used my budding sexuality to cope with something I didn't know how else to cope with. And it has left its mark on me forever. I've been paying the price all my life and I will never stop paying. I am unmarried because the circuits in my brain that should have been used for romance were vandalized by spankings instead. I am childless because I never married. So there is a direct link between my spankings, how I coped with them, and my being sexually abnormal, and hence never marrying and having any children of my own.
Not all of the harm is sexual in nature. An "it made me what I am today" pattern emerges whenever someone unexpectedly confronts me in an angry way about something I did. I have a bad habit of saying the first rationalization that pops into my mind, sometimes even lying. It just blurts itself out of me. And I don't know how to change. It goes back so far. It is a habit I learned as a preschooler that sometimes saved me from a bottom warming. It usually didn't, but something that works only occasionally is better than nothing at all.
Another lifelong bad effect of my spankings is that when someone orders me to do something in a stern authoritarian voice, I usually just cave in and do it even if I don't feel right about what I am doing. It just happens, seemingly by itself. And it all goes back to my earliest years. Growing up in my "traditional values" family, children did as they were told and didn't talk back. If you did, Mommy would turn you across her knee, pull down your panties and "teach you a lesson" right then and there. I sure learned my lessons! The trouble is, how do you unlearn that lesson as a grownup out in the world who has to stand up for herself? I just hate myself now whenever I realize that once again I let myself be someone's doormat.
Today's children should not have to go through what I went through. We know more now. Now we have websites such as nospank.net on which someone like me can tell what happened to her without sacrificing her privacy. My mother regretted spanking me once I finally told her about my fetish as an adult. She at least has the excuse that nobody told her how bad the side effects could be. Parents reading this website do not have that excuse anymore. No child should have to sacrifice their developing sexual self just to cope with the painful violence of a parent who claims to love them.
Spanking children is harmful, it is hurtful, it is violent, and it needs to stop. Parents reading this: please don't use physical pain to discipline your children!
HAVE YOU BEEN|
TO THE NEWSROOM?