Letter: Girls take a different kind of beating at boarding school

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The Independent Online
WE TOO were beaten and sexually abused, and we in our turn behaved like animals to one another. I was estranged from my parents by the end of the first term, I was 11 years old. Cal McCrystal's Notebook glossed over the less dramatic aspects, the attempted destruction of our individuality and its replacement with an official yet anonymous concept of 'character', not the mere 'cutting off of feelings', but the wholescale destruction of them.

The odd thing is that, for all the savagery of the beatings, we believed that we 'enjoyed' school. No one in the 1950s thought that it was harmful - these acts of barbarism were 'character forming'. As for the sexual abuse, there was no vocabulary to discuss these issues. Not only were they shameful to the victim, but unspeakable.

When I left to attend a local college I was totally lost. I had become institutionalised and couldn't manage the freedom.

Name and address withheld