Saturday, 7 February 2009
In the old days girls were always birched across the bare bottom, as in this picture. Of course it hurt so much they usually had to be strapped down to take it, and birching blocks of various designs, well equipped with straps, were to be found in every girls school. Examples of these can be found in the Headmasters Study films made by Rigid East/Lupus Pictures.
Victorian ideas about modesty made stripping girls bare for punishment increasingly difficult and a heavier rod - the cane - was introduced so that girls could be effectively punished across their tightly knickered bottoms.
On the subject of girls over the birching block or "horse" someone commented as follows:
I have some interesting historical information on this topic. Going back 250 years or so, when the birch was used to maintain discipline in Britain’s schools, reformatories and orphanages, the French philospher Voltaire, commenting on the English system of institutional child discipline wrote that “It is shameful and indecent that the birch is used upon the naked buttocks of children with such severity. The nerves between the sphincter and the pubis become inflamed, and emissions are often caused, and this frequently happens to young girls”
The word “emissions” is generally believed to be a euphemism for orgasm, and does not, necessarily, refer to bladder or bowel emissions. Indeed, the word orgasm did not exist at that time, and the word “emission” was the only term, which was in use then, to describe the male orgasm. The female orgasm, officially, did not exist in Voltaire’s time, but Voltaire’s reference to “emissions” being caused in young girls when being flogged with the birch, is generally thought to be a reference to the equivalent physical response of the male “emission”, or orgasm, occurring in a girls.
When girls were birched, especially in reformatory and orphanage institutions of the period, it was normal for the girls to be strapped to a flogging, or birching “horse”. This piece of furniture was basically like a saw horse, or trestle, and consisted of a narrow beam at the top, supported on four legs, which splayed out. A girl to be punished would lie with her belly on the narrow top beam, while her wrists and ankles were secured to each of the horse’s four splayed legs. In this uncompromising position, her naked buttocks would be flogged with a hefty bundle of brine soaked birch twigs, until they were a red, raw, mass of bloodied flesh. However, once strapped to the flogging horse in this position, the victim's pubic area, would invariably be resting on, and pressing against, the narrow beam which formed the top of the horse. Any movement of the girl’s pelvis during the flogging, would inevitably result in the clitoral area rubbing against the top beam of the horse. During the birching, the victim would invariably be clenching, and jerking in her pelvic region as the birching, which could be four or five dozen strokes, proceded. The effect of the clitoral region rubbing and grinding against the top of the horse, as the girl clenched and writhed, combined with the rush of blood to the buttocks, and neighbouring genitals, caused by the birching, could easily trigger an involuntary orgasm in the flogged girl, and often did.
There was no outrage at that time because female sexuality, let alone female orgasm, officially did not exist at all, and certainly not in young girls, which the inmates of such institutions would have been.