There’s a thread on soc.sexuality.spanking prompted by this news story. The discussion has tended toward annoyance and a general feeling that this may be "political correctness" (god how I hate that term) gone mad. To me, it seems like the article doesn’t report more than it does.
Anyway, it reminded me of something that happened to me when we moved to Los Angeles when I was 12. Here’s a copy of what I posted:
I’ve been reading this thread this weekend and have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I definitely played spanking games with friends as a small child and young teen (and now as an adult, but that’s another story). If what was going on was just consensual spanking, yes, I think the adults should tell them not to do it at school and then butt out.
But on the other hand I’m really reluctant to judge the school and locals without knowing all the details which clearly aren’t being written about in this article. Why? Because at 12 I experienced a level of sexual abuse at the hands of my fellow 12 year olds that has definitely been unequaled in my adult experience. It wasn’t a gang rape, but it was a "gang molest." I don’t at all believe the notion that sexual abuse is somehow less traumatic when the person doing it is a child then it would be if they were an adult.
Because it was the 1980s, when my parents reported it to the school there was a sort of "kids will be kids" attitude, right up until my parents called the police. I’m sure they wouldn’t have involved the cops (because they said so) if the school hadn’t made it so clear that what happened was just kids playing and being kids. After the police got involved, some male students were suspended. The irony, imo, was the female students involved were at least as responsible.
What Happened: There’s no spanking, but as a sexual fantasy this could be seen as hot — heck, I would probably see it as such if it hadn’t actually been happening to me.
Background: When I was 12 my family moved from San Diego to Studio City. Not a huge move, but I had to leave the school and friends I’d been with since first grade and start over again in the seventh grade of another Catholic school. Yup, I was the new girl. I was also short, dark and wore glasses. While this was a Catholic school, it was also filled with children of the film industry (some of the students were actors themselves) who were socially a lot more sophisticated than I was. There were three girls (Angela, Michelle and Michelle) who basically controlled the class by a combination of being rather funny and really mean. And when I say "the class," I mean a significant number of the male as well as female students.
For a number of reasons the kids in my class were kind of fucked up. I didn’t make it any easier by spending most of my free time hiding from them in the library. The kids who weren’t under the thrall of the three mean girls were glad to see me too — I’d definitely taken the heat off of them.
At the same time, Peter, one of the popular boys, started sending me notes telling me how pretty I was. But the notes were sent in secret. Or so I thought.
One day, toward the end of the spring term, the popular kids caught up with me. One of the boys named Peter, egged on by the girls as I later found out, led me to a somewhat "private" part of the playground and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I told him no, I didn’t. He asked if I would be his girl friend.
Not knowing I was being set up, I asked what that would mean. He said it meant I would have to kiss him. He was cute and popular and I was pretty close to agreeing when he told me it would need to be a "French kiss" with my tongue. This was something that I’d practiced with a female friend back in San Diego but had never been able to imagine doing with a boy.
I said no, that I couldn’t do that. He gently took my wrist and kissed me on the forehead before trying, less gently, to kiss my mouth. I started struggling.
At that point it became clear he wasn’t alone in this — all of this had been watched by another four boys and, of course, the three mean girls. In fact, as I later found out, the "private notes" we’d exchanged had also been read by the whole gang. As soon as I started struggling, the other boys, under the direction of the mean girls, held me down by my arms and legs.
Peter kissed me, pushing his tongue into my mouth. At that point I became totally passive, I guess with fear. My shirt and bra (such as it was) was stripped off and my uniform skirt was pulled up. Peter was directed to fondle my breasts (and did so). Angela, the worst of the worst of the mean girls, suggested that I’d been lying about the kiss and probably wasn’t even a virgin (this was based on the fact I used tampons, something that the urban mythology of our class believed impossible of virgins). Peter was directed to "check" me.
At this point I did freak out and start struggling. My memory stops there, though I do remember someone’s hands pulling off my shorts and under pants. I think Peter was a little freaked by too. Fortunately, at that moment my sister (three years younger, but taller and stronger) came over and started pushing at the people who were holding me. She’d brought with her Chris, the son of some friends my parents had made. He was in my class, something of an outcast too and became a dear friend.
The two of them made the others stop, which they did, after tossing both Chris and me into the dumpster. My sister gathered up my scattered uniform and helped me out of the trash. She was the one who "told" my parents what had happened. I remember that I was angry with her about that, mostly because I felt like she was exposing how socially inept I was.
As this all came crashing down, only Chris and my sister supported my claim that I wasn’t a happy participant in what happened. It was only a five or so years later, when I was actually sexually exploring, that I realized how terrible all this had been and that it had been part of my nightmares for years.
The belief of the parents of the other students was that I only said I didn’t want to "play along" after the fact because my parents would be angry with me otherwise. I understand that now. To believe otherwise would be to believe that they were party to raising a 12 or 13 year old who could participate in a borderline gang rape.
And that’s the story. Sorry for making it so long, but you know how it is once you start writing. I’m telling it mostly because I think we tend to make children out to be much more innocent and kind then they actually are. Part of what school should be teaching is what sort of behavior is and isn’t appropriate in work situations. Sexual touching at school, even if it is consensual, isn’t appropriate behavior.
That said, I don’t think children who behave inappropriately should be treated the same as adults. But it should be treated seriously. Trust me, for the person on the receiving end, it feels pretty serious.