An analysis and assessment of "Rape: Lesson No. 1"
How abusers betray themselves through predictable patterns of behaviour
By Tim Field, June 2000

Lest anyone be deceived into thinking the that "Rape: Lesson No 1." is about discipline, it is not. It's about a premeditated, well-practised and meticulously executed serious sexual assault using a skilfully-designed ritual to entrap and violate their victim.

Rape: Lesson No. 1

I would like to relate a most disturbing incident that I experienced when I was a senior in high school in Florida in May of 1984. I had been a runner-up in several local beauty pageants and always considered myself attractive. However, I never felt so ugly and sullied than after this experience, which only now do I find the courage to share.

I had been late three times to school and was sent to the referral center, where I had to explain myself to a male administrative assistant.

The victim, having committed a minor offence, is at a disadvantage knowing she has erred and thus contravened school rules. The education system encourages the concept of punishment for misdemeanour; therefore, schoolchildren are groomed to expect and consequently accept punishment. If a child breaches school rules, they know they "deserve" to be punished.

Being a pupil and under the age of eighteen she has no power or control over her situation. She is unaware that the authority figures who are allegedly there to protect and nurture her are in fact abusers who are grooming her (and others) for ritualistic abuse. In the abuser's view, she is ripe for rape.

The teacher who sent me told me that I would be given a choice of three "swats" or three days suspension.

The teacher knows the ritual and actively collaborates in the abuse, feeding a steady stream of victims to the abusers. This makes the teacher an active abuser also. Probably most of the staff are abusers, either actively by feeding victims to the abusers, or passively by ignoring what is going on. It is likely that every girl in this school has been beaten. This may be an objective of the abusers - they probably regard it as a challenge to beat every girl in the school at some stage and may make comparisons in order to increase their gratification. They may have favourites who they entrap a second time. The opportunity to wield the paddle may be shared between abusers.

...a choice of three "swats" or three days suspension.

This is the abuser's trap. On the surface, the victim is being offered a choice - an apparently "pleasant" choice of three days suspension, or the "unpleasant" choice of three "swats." The former is immediately painless but may lead to loss of career, the latter is immediately painful but gets it over with quickly and career chances are undamaged. In reality, the former is recoverable, the latter leaves a lifetime scar. Fear, however, precludes the victim from thinking clearly, and she is thus coerced into unwittingly walking into the trap.

The number of three swats is chosen with good reason - it is the maximum number of swats that can be delivered to cause maximum pain but not to cause injury severe enough to warrant medical attention. The abusers may have realised this early in their careers when delivering more swats. Also, four swats may be sufficiently painful for the victim to overcome their shame, embarrassment and guilt and break their silence. Three is a compromise which ensures the abusers can carry on abusing with little fear of exposure.

Whilst this event is allegedly "discipline," the fact that it is really abuse can be ascertained by:

a) triviality: the triviality of the offence (late for school three times)

b) disproportion: the triviality of the offence (late for school three times) compared with the seriousness of the punishment (suspension resulting in loss of grades resulting in failure to get to college resulting in loss of career or a humiliating and degrading beating causing unimaginable pain with bruises lasting for three weeks)

c) limited choice: only two choices which on the surface look "fair" according to school rules

d) single choice: the first choice (loss of career) is not a choice at all so the victim has one choice which is no choice

e) single outcome: refusal to offer or consider alternatives (no female administrator, no mix and match of punishments, no other alternatives offered or allowed)

f) no independent witnesses: no witnesses other than another abuser in the guise of an independent witness required by school rules who is actually part of the ritual

g) false legitimacy: regular reference to "school rules" and therefore "authority."

Abusers often betray themselves through the reasons they choose for punishment. If the abuser's sexual urge drives him to commit another act and he cannot capitalize on an infringement immediately, a petty insignificant incident will be distorted, misrepresented and misappropriated. School uniforms provide a gold mine of opportunity. In the UK, school uniforms also provide abusers with a gratifying visual reminder of the days of fagging and flogging.

If necessary, an alleged breach of discipline will be manufactured as the basis for administering a beating. This is more likely with younger victims who are unlikely to have the maturity or articulation skills to challenge the allegation and punishment. By mid-teens children may have received advice on how to handle potential abuse situations, are beginning to be able to form and sustain their own judgements, and are also big and strong enough to mount a physical challenge should this be necessary. However, age, strength and maturity can be countered by vulnerability which equates to submissibility.

I knew from other students ...

Confirmation that the abuse is widespread throughout the school.

... that they make you spread your legs and lie flat on a desk for the paddling.

"Spreading your legs" is synonymous with sexual intercourse; through this ritual the abusers marry the two and carry out their symbolic act of violation.

"Paddling," "spanking" and "swats" are euphemisms with strong overtones of punishment for wrongdoing which therefore legitimizes the beating. If you've received a "spanking" you must have done something wrong and thus deserved it. I prefer the terms "serious sexual assault" or "sexually-motivated violence," for this is what paddling, spanking and swats really are.

Other girls told me that they left the room crying.

Another confirmation that the abuse is widespread.

If I took the three days suspension, I would miss out on all of my school work and get zeros for those days in all of my subjects. This would affect my chances of attending college the next year. On the other hand, the idea of bending over and letting them paddle me was a terrible thought. Then they rear back and whack you really hard.  My mind was racing and my anxiety was building.

The walk to the referral centre allows the victim to weigh up the (two) alternatives and decide in her mind that the swats are the "best" option. She is unwittingly being coerced into asking for the swats herself. Fear backed up by a false legitimacy of authority (school rules) precludes the victim thinking of and seeking alternatives.

To make matters worse it had been very warm and I was wearing a mini-skirt that day.

This is an abuser's dream - the opportunity to paddle a vulnerable 17-year-old girl in a mini skirt who has no means of escaping their trap. The abusers are probably tempted to lift their victim's skirt so they can administer the beating on their victim's knickers or on her bare buttocks. They almost certainly do this in their imagination. However, abusers are often highly intelligent and know that if they do so they will stray into the territory of sexual assault. Allowing the victim to remain fully clothed during the beating keeps the ritual firmly within the limits of "school discipline" which in many states is still socially and legally acceptable. The likelihood of the abuser removing their victim's clothing is probably dependent on the age of the victim. Young children may see it as a "normal" part of punishment and therefore cannot and will not question it; older children may have some inkling or knowledge of sexual matters so the abuser mustn't give them any grounds for making an allegation of sexual assault.

After composing myself I proceeded to the referral center, where the male administrator greeted me and very matter-of-factly led me into his office.

"Very matter-of-factly" is a cover for the abuse ritual. The abusers act as if this is a normal everyday occurrence - which for them it probably is. This further lulls the victim into their trap. Their blandness is probably also a well-rehearsed cover for their mounting sexual excitement at the opportunity to abuse another easy victim.

He looked over my record and the three documented latenesses.

This is a pretence of normality again to cover the fact that this is a trap being sprung. "Three documented latenesses" keeps the misdemeanour within the realm of school rules and thus grooms the pupil for accepting due punishment which she deserves.

The writer does not state the interval between her third lateness and the punishment. However, the efficiency of record keeping and the swift recording of the third lateness are revealing in that they suggest premeditation and intent.

Then my worst fears were realized as he asked me whether I wanted three days suspension or three "swats"with a paddle.

Well well, just as the teacher predicted. One doesn't need to be a psychic to prophesy that these would be the choices on offer - one only needs to understand abusers and their methods.

I knew I had no choice but to take the paddling.

Just what the abusers intended. Snap - the trap is sprung and there's no way out.

My heart started pounding in my ears, and my knees were shaking as I told him that I would take the "swats." He indifferently stepped out of his office and called another male administrator to act as a witness.

The adrenaline flow is so great that the victim is paralysed with fear and cannot escape the trap. The abuser has carefully arranged for their victim to say that she wants the swats. Later, in the unlikely event of being challenged, he can abdicate and deny his responsibility by claiming, correctly, that she chose to have the swats. He has a witness to prove it.

The "witness" took a position behind me as the administrator returned to his desk.

He would claim it is the appropriate position to check that the swats are correctly applied. In reality it's the best position for maximum sexual gratification and so that the victim can't see the drooling leer on his face nor the lump in his trousers.

He opened his drawer and pulled out a paddle. It was about six inches wide, one and a half feet long and about half inch thick. It had several holes drilled in it and I could see the word "OUCH" written on the face. I guess that was some kind of a joke, which only served to make the whole thing that much more disturbing.

Not so much disturbing as perverse. Superficially, the humour is to relieve the victim's anxiety; in reality, showing the paddle with this word on it to the victim heightens the abuser's sexual tension and further subdues the victim.

He proceeded to move a few things from his desk and spoke to the "witness" as if I weren't there. He said he would be "giving her three swats for being late."

A ritualistic element, part of the carefully rehearsed routine. The witness knows the ritual but the pretence is maintained; again this provides a veneer of normality by indirect reference to school rules. It heightens the abuser's sexual tension. Using his desk is equivalent to raping his victim in his bed. He can later sit at his desk knowing and visualising his victims bending over it immediately in front of him.

At this point I was holding onto the desk for support since I was becoming weak with fear. I remember praying, "Oh God, don't make me bend over for these guys!" I felt so vulnerable in that mini-skirt. Before I knew it the words I dreaded were being said: "I want you to bend over and lie flat on the desk, feet wide apart".

This is the ritual being enacted. The victim is forced to place herself in a position of submission. Note that no physical violence is required to position or restrain the victim - she is deceived by the ritual into submitting herself.

In trembling voice on the verge of tears I mustered the courage to ask to keep my legs together since I was in a skirt. He responded that this was standard school procedure and I should have thought of that before.

The abuser expects the victim to beg for mercy and has a stock response to enforce the total control, subjugation and humiliation. "Standard school procedure" is a euphemism for "carefully-planned abuser's ritual"; quoting regulations gives a false sense of legitimacy to what is happening as well as abdicating and denying responsibility for his acts. "You should have thought of that before" is another example of the abuser encouraging his victim to believe she is responsible.

I then asked if I could have a female administrator administer the paddling, but he told me that there were none available today (how convenient!).

Yes, how convenient. Note there's always a stock answer. But then the abusers have enacted this ritual so many times that they have an answer for everything.

So, reluctantly I bent over the desk trying to maintain as much modesty as possible. I can still hear his next command: "feet wider apart.".

Maintenance of dignity is paramount but there is none. Stripping of dignity is probably synonymous in the abuser's mind with removing the victim's clothing.

I obeyed as I wanted this to be over with as soon as possible.

The victim recognises they have no alternative. Their submission is complete.

At this time I started to cry. He half-jokingly said, "I haven't even paddled you yet."

Probably most victims cry at this stage; the abuser expects it and gains gratification when he hears it. He again has a stock response, with humour intended to make light of the situation and inject some artificial "normality".

I turned to see both of them staring at my upturned buttocks but was told to look at the picture on the wall in front of me.

To avoid noticing their gratification during the assault, their mounting sense of sexual tension, also to reinforce control, subjugation and humiliation. The abusers control the shots and can deliver them at their choosing; their helpless victim does not know when the blows will be delivered, other than hearing the paddle whistle a moment before it strikes their buttocks.

I felt the paddle touch my buttocks with a rubbing motion before he drew back to swing.

This ritualistic element, akin to taking aim, is part of heightening gratification and further subduing and humiliating the victim. Note how by now all pretence of due punishment has disappeared and is replaced by full-blown abuse.

I heard the paddle whistle slightly as he swung. The "swat" landed and seemed to fill the room with a loud POP. I felt the most incredible pain I had ever experienced and felt myself lifted to my toes from the impact. I tried not to move or cry out to give them any additional satisfaction. I felt totally exposed since I was sure my backside was visible. He drew back for the second swat and hit me again almost immediately. Again, I was lifted to my toes and driven toward the desk.

The abuser is enjoying his gratification and notching up another victim. Sick.

I couldn't take the pain, so I turned around and asked him to wait a minute. He told me to "get back into position right now." I was openly crying and said I would rather have the suspension. He told me that the school didn't "mix and match" punishments and that I would get a fourth "swat" if I did not bend over.

Control and humiliation are reinforced with a threat in the guise of a "choice" - bend over now or get a fourth swat for which she will have to bend over anyway. There is another false legitimacy ("the school didn't mix and match punishments"); the reality is that the ritual cannot be broken or the abuser will be denied his gratification. It's likely most victims actively seek this alternative at this stage, hence the stock answer again. The expectation of this request might for the abuser be an anticipated moment immediately before orgasmic release of a final swat.

I couldn't believe how childish I was made to feel. Here I was, a 17-year-old women crying like a baby while this strange man spanked me and another man was enjoying it. I bent back over and opened my legs so I would not have to be told.

The victim recognises her total loss of control and the complete humiliation to which she is being subjected, but still clings to the last vestiges of dignity.

The last swat was the worst yet and I saw stars through my tears.

It would be - the first two are a preparation for the big swat. The abuser is reaching the end of the ritual and needs to reach a climax with a big one. Also, if the big one is delivered first, the victim may collapse and thus the routine might not be completed. Also, there is a danger of causing too much injury with subsequent swats and thus incurring the attention of third parties and medical practitioners.

He then told me not to be late any more and asked me to sign the paddle.

The abuser is carrying on the pretence that this is a just punishment for infringement of school rules. Autographing the paddle gives the abuser a permanent and uniquely personal record of his victim which also adds to the sense of the victim concurring in the punishment. The abuser might also regard this as an act of forgiveness by the victim to the person who has administered her due punishment. However, it is really the final act of submission as if the victim now accepts that she deserved the beating.

I refused and he said I could go.

The ritual is over, the abuser has had his way and there's now no point in risking any form of challenge. Even when subjugation is total this victim still musters a vestige of resistance; it is probably this inner strength which has given her the courage to speak out now.

I passed the "witness" on my way out, and he looked as if he were blushing.

He's strongly sexually stimulated and may be close to orgasm.

The bruises lasted three weeks, and I had to be careful not to let anyone see them.

Shame, embarrassment and guilt are the instruments of control and the means by which abusers silence their victims.

I was terribly embarrassed and humiliated, and I resolved to keep this experience to myself.

Just as the abusers planned. Abusers rely on shame, embarrassment and guilt to ensure their victim remains silent. They can go on abusing and no-one is going to question them or their acts. The shame, embarrassment and guilt control the victim beyond the experience and may be strong enough to silence their victim for life. Only enormous courage and changing social pressures might result otherwise.

When the victim later begins to doubt the validity of her "punishment," she realises she is reliant on people in authority to take up her case but fears a further betrayal similar to the one described in the experience. As many abusers operate in networks and any investigation will inevitably be undertaken in the vicinity of the school, this fear is often justified.

The victim is unlikely to relate their experience; partly because of their fear (often justified) that no-one will believe them, and also because any written statement will inevitably have a pornographic overtone. If she takes any action, her statement will be in all the newspapers, on radio and on TV. It's likely to be reported in most pornographic magazines. The media love cases with a strong sexual component: "mini-skirted 17-year-old beauty pageant schoolgirl spanked for being late" ... it'll be top story for weeks. It is likely she will ultimately be identified; less scrupulous media people will pay large sums of money for that information. The date, place and names of the abusers will also ultimately identify her. The media attention will be like a second violation compounded by having to repeatedly relive the first violation.

I am now married with a child, and I have still never told anyone about this.

She and her family will probably face hostility from the pro-spanking lobby. The abusers and their supporters will deny everything. Her child is likely to be taunted at school. Her marriage will come under intolerable strain. If identified she will subsequently always be known as the "mini-skirted 17-year-old beauty pageant schoolgirl spanked for being late..." Men will leer at her in the supermarket. Employment prospects may be jeopardized. And so on.

No wonder people keep quiet. Abuse thrives on silence and denial.

I only know that this experience was the closest thing to a rape as I can imagine, and I pray that the time will soon come when no one will have to suffer this form of punishment-masked sadism again.

It is a rape and should be regarded as such. The paddle is a symbolic penis violating the helpless victim in an intimate sexual part of her body. With a witness present and other teachers complicit, it qualifies as gang rape.

By sharing this experience she is helping to raise awareness of this perverted and sadistic form of abuse; only through such courage and persistence will the time come when no-on will have to suffer this again.


Abusers are sexually inadequate individuals who have usually had an abusive childhood. If the abuse they commit is sexually oriented, it's likely they were the victims of sexual abuse in childhood. If they are equating sexual activity with violence, then it is likely as a child they were subjected to regular and severe beatings on their buttocks. Love and violence are equated and consequent anxiety in adulthood is relieved through sexual violence.

The abuser can probably only achieve an erection by thinking of a paddling. He may be able to use the memory of any one paddling as a visualisation for masturbation for the rest of his life. The abuser probably has no sex life and is deeply sexually inadequate in relationships. He may not be able to have an erection with a partner unless he explicitly links the sexual act with violence. His abusive ritual probably now substitutes for the permanent lack of sex with a partner and may be so deeply ingrained that only years of counselling and therapy in a secure environment can break the cycle.

Paedophiles and abusers often operate in networks, so it may be enlightening to check the individual's membership of organisations, fraternities and secret societies, especially any in which membership is by invitation or approach only. Like recruits like. Although this incident took place in 1984, male abusers often remain active until their death. Their network may survive - and thrive - indefinitely.


Sue. Legal action and the threat of accompanying exposure seems to be the only thing that abusers understand. It's likely most, if not all, girls at the school have had the same experience but are too afraid to come forward and relate it. However, all will be suffering in silence, and once one courageous victim has taken the plunge, others are likely to follow the lead. The more people who do so, the more abusers we can convict. It's also an opportunity to learn about abusers and their methods and thus how to identify and expose them.

Simultaneously we must ensure that all children receive the kind, nurturing childhood that precludes a life of abuse.

Tim Field, BSc (Hons), is a trainer, author and presenter. He founded the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, and is author of Bully in sight: how to predict, resist, challenge and combat workplace bullying.


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