CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

This section was setup in August 2018 in order to move the existing related discussions from other sections into this new section to group them together, and separate from the other CH-related topics.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
jtaylor
Forum Administrator
Posts: 1838
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2004 12:32 am
Real Name: Julian Taylor
Location: Wantage, OXON
Has thanked: 60 times
Been thanked: 332 times
Contact:

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by jtaylor » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:29 am

Bullying was institutionalised and endemic during my time at CH for sure, between 1985 and 1992.
In-house hierarchies gave kids power over each other - and some abused it, to a greater or lesser extent.

I don’t think this was unusual though across all schools - I was bullied and fought regularly with other kids at primary school too - so from what I saw CH wasn’t unusual at all?

Attitudes have changed, and way more care and safeguarding and support systems are in place in most schools I think, but bullying has now moved online and can be just as nasty, if not worse, than the CH I remember. We’ve seen this here on the forum, with deliberate trolling and abuse in a few limited cases - very unpleasant and unbecoming.

Sexual abuse is different though, and shouldn’t/wasn’t ever “acceptable” - whereas I would suggest that culturally and legally in the uk in those days bullying was tacitly accepted as part of growing up, and teaching us to “man up.” On balance I’d say it did that for me - I’m pretty resilient and don’t fall over at the first knock. Whether it like it or not, CH definitely made me tougher and able to cope positively with problems and get on with it.

So we need to be careful not to muddy the water too much by inadvertently conflating sexual abuse and bullying/corporal punishment, unless there’s a clear overlap in specific instances.
These users thanked the author jtaylor for the post (total 6):
Otter (Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:38 am) • harryh (Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:49 pm) • J.R. (Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:13 pm) • TMF (Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:54 pm) • marty (Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:55 pm) • Pe.A (Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:25 pm)
Rating: 35.29%
Julian Taylor-Gadd
Leigh Hunt 1985-1992
Image
Founder of The Unofficial CH Forum
http://www.grovegeeks.co.uk - IT Support and website design for home, small businesses and charities.

TMF
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:03 am
Real Name: TMF
Has thanked: 166 times
Been thanked: 83 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by TMF » Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:47 pm

barnemj wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:12 am
I'm really struggling with any allegation against Dick Dawe.
<snip>
I am simply devastated to hear of the suffering that was taking place ..
I agree on both points - Dick Dawe was a good teacher - my guess is that really was an accident. That post is mentioned as an example of CH providing compensation to someone.

And, yes indeed, the girl's post linked above was about an incident from before the Hertford/Horsham merger.

There are many other examples of teachers using excessive force with pupils (beyond the cane and gym shoe). E.g. I saw Tony Waller (mentioned in this thread in a positive light regarding bullying) pull a boy off his chair using the boy's hair - for eating a piece of toast without cutting it in two first. Here is a post where Mid A 15 describes being hit on the head by a teacher such that Mid A 15 saw stars: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=3850&p=117860&s#p117860 (Mid A 15 also says that the teacher was pleasant). Durrant describes how Durrant came to perforate a boy's eardrum.

Teachers used violence of various sorts to keep control. Teachers were overworked (there were 3 teachers in a house supervising 60 children 24 hours a day). So a system of monitors among the boys kept discipline, basically, but led to more physical violence. It is worth noting that teacher's children were treated differently. If a teacher tried to lure another teacher's son - there was an immediate departure. Perhaps teacher's children had to suffer in that they did not feel as though they were getting the full CH experience - and it does seem that teacher's children often subsequently have a rather positive view of the school - probably not a coincidence.

The teachers had too much to do to look after children properly. Corporal punishment and other forms of violence were used as a quick fix. Bullying was used by the boys as a means of control (and as a general hobby because there were some troubled children). A fair amount of this site discusses bullying and corporal punishment - so these experiences clearly made an impression on people.

I see the sexual abuse as a part of the corporal punishment and bullying continuum - total disrespect of children - CH created this continuum and turned a blind eye for too long.
These users thanked the author TMF for the post:
bakunin (Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:52 am)
Rating: 5.88%

User avatar
graham
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:07 pm
Real Name: Graham Slater
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Has thanked: 24 times
Been thanked: 68 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by graham » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:21 pm

TMF wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:47 pm

The teachers had too much to do to look after children properly. Corporal punishment and other forms of violence were used as a quick fix. Bullying was used by the boys as a means of control (and as a general hobby because there were some troubled children). A fair amount of this site discusses bullying and corporal punishment - so these experiences clearly made an impression on people.

I see the sexual abuse as a part of the corporal punishment and bullying continuum - total disrespect of children - CH created this continuum and turned a blind eye for too long.
I think this perspective is key. The house parents I had at CH did admirable work (thanks KHG, harryH and SJOB) and I do not slight them but, looking back, they should never have had to bear such great responsibilities. It's something I never thought about as a pupil but now I would never want the job of being a house parent; needing to teach classes, the required preparation / grading that goes along with teaching, plus sports etc equals a full time job, even if some allowance is made for house duties. Having to then act as a responsible parent and guardian to 50 rowdy kids is just not feasible (I can barely manage one). Just as I often allow my kid to eat candy for dinner and watch hours of YouTube to give myself a required break, it seems very likely some turned their eyes to ongoing issues because they just couldnt deal with them. And just as Im sure we've all lost our temper with our kids, i can imagine that the burden of dealing with 50 must make those reactions stronger. This isn't meant to excuse what has happened. But I do think its worth considering whether separating the responsibilities of teaching staff from those of the house staff (or, at least, appointed dedicated house parents who are not part of the teaching staff) is something that would provide an additional layer of protection for pupils.
These users thanked the author graham for the post (total 3):
J.R. (Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:36 pm) • TMF (Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:16 pm) • Pe.A (Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:28 pm)
Rating: 17.65%
Graham Slater
Maine B 1990 - 1993, Thorn A 1993 -1997

ZeroDeConduite
3rd Former
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:29 am
Real Name: PrA8PeA5
Has thanked: 26 times
Been thanked: 24 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by ZeroDeConduite » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:45 pm

jtaylor wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:29 am
Bullying was institutionalised and endemic during my time at CH for sure, between 1985 and 1992.
In-house hierarchies gave kids power over each other - and some abused it, to a greater or lesser extent.

...bullying has now moved online and can be just as nasty, if not worse, than the CH I remember...

I would suggest that culturally and legally in the uk in those days bullying was tacitly accepted as part of growing up, and teaching us to “man up.” On balance I’d say it did that for me - I’m pretty resilient...

So we need to be careful not to muddy the water too much by inadvertently conflating sexual abuse and bullying/corporal punishment, unless there’s a clear overlap in specific instances.
Like today's online bullying, bullying within the school's houses was 24/7, so I think was of a different order than in other school sectors.
In my time at CH - the 1950s - master/pupil sexual abuse was to all intents and purposes non-existent. Indeed Pop Beavan ran his house with the least possible interaction with the pupils.
So most of the abuse, which came in many forms, including inter-pupil sexual abuse as well as physical and psychological bullying - which as you say was endemic - came 24/7 from one's immediate environment.

Personal psychological damage came from many directions - hence the prevalence of Boarding School Syndrome, which is far from a rarity IME.
@robert totterdell has included sadistic staff corporal punishment in his assessment of the personal damage suffered. I think that the waters are far too muddied by the general problems pupils have historically faced to see this situation as clearly unoverlapping.

Specific legal cases excluded, because that is the nature of legal evidence.
These users thanked the author ZeroDeConduite for the post:
TMF (Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:46 pm)
Rating: 5.88%
PrepA 1951-2 Peele A 1953-60

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15699
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey
Has thanked: 360 times
Been thanked: 185 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by J.R. » Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:37 pm

I can only echo Zero's comments above regarding my time at Horsham.

First terms in Prep B, January 1958, bullying was endemic and 'accepted' by House staff.

I don't recall bullying on later terms in Coleridge B.

Corporal punishment was still in full use. Gym shoe in Prep houses. Cane in upper school, but in my recollection, without any sexual pleasure being gained by the masters concerned.

Definitely NO evidence or suspicion of sexual misconduct by staff on pupils, but as I have said before, this was all pre the era of the many HM's continually coming and going through the ever revolving door after Seaman's departure.
These users thanked the author J.R. for the post:
TMF (Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:46 pm)
Rating: 5.88%
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

Foureyes
Grecian
Posts: 793
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:26 am
Real Name: David
Location: England
Has thanked: 0
Been thanked: 125 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by Foureyes » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:45 pm

I agree with almost all of what J.R.says.
I was in Prep B 1948-49. I really have no recollection of bullying there, so it must have changed by JR's time (1958-59). I was beaten once by a Mr Keep (three with gymnshoe) and I recall that Mr Pink had a habit of standing behind a boy in class and running his finger, quite painfully, over the victim's collarbones. It never went beyond that and as far as I remember we regarded it as an adult idiosyncracy, as opposed to abuse. My main memory of the Prep is playing stoolball (weird!) and a visiting Old Blue from the USA who dressed as a cowboy and gave demonstrations in the gymn of whips and lariats. I mention these only to indicate that my memory is not totally scrambled and that if there had been bullying I would remember it.

I was in Lamb B from 1949-55 and have no recollection of institutionalised bullying. I recall the very occasional use of 'fotching' (neither by nor against me) which was employed by larger boys against smaller boys. I only remember it because of the very odd name and I am sure that it was neither widespread nor frequent. I was beaten once, by Mr Archbold with a cane, and it was for breaking the rules - which I had done.

Like JR, I cannot recall any actual cases of sexual misbehaviour by masters. There was a suggestion (in about 1952-53) that a master had had to catch the next train to London on a single ticket, but as it had all happened in the other half of the Avenue we took little or no notice.

One point I would like to make is that the discussions on this Forum are by their nature - and quite properly - about our time at CH. However, I really wonder what went on at other schools, particularly boarding schools. That is not to excuse what happened at CH, but it might help to understand it better if it proved to be not unique.

David :shock:

bakunin
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:22 am
Real Name: Manch
Location: The westernmost lands
Has thanked: 185 times
Been thanked: 78 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by bakunin » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:15 am

TMF wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:05 pm
However, there are many additional teachers ('there were others') who departed suddenly. These teachers might have left for personal reasons, perhaps they just assaulted someone physically and not sexually (as has been described recently, and left discretely), or perhaps 'they had something of the night about them'.
And what of the teachers who did not even have to leave suddenly because they were never caught, or just got a slap on the wrist? Or the management successfully persuaded the pupil to keep quiet forever? Or managed to avoid getting fired through threats of going public and embarassing the school?

There must be at least 2-3 in this category, if not dozens. There is one in particular, associated with the cycle shorts parties...

I see the sexual abuse as a part of the corporal punishment and bullying continuum - total disrespect of children - CH created this continuum and turned a blind eye for too long.
Exactly! The barbaric traditions carried on from the middle ages such as institutionally sanctioned bullying enabled even worse sexual abuse
Last edited by bakunin on Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

bakunin
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:22 am
Real Name: Manch
Location: The westernmost lands
Has thanked: 185 times
Been thanked: 78 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by bakunin » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:50 am

jtaylor wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:29 am
In-house hierarchies gave kids power over each other - and some abused it, to a greater or lesser extent.

I don’t think this was unusual though across all schools - I was bullied and fought regularly with other kids at primary school too - so from what I saw CH wasn’t unusual at all?
I was shocked when I arrived in the second form, because although I had experienced bullying before, at CH the older boys actually had permission of the school to bully younger boys! I would say this is drastically different from any normal day school.

User avatar
jtaylor
Forum Administrator
Posts: 1838
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2004 12:32 am
Real Name: Julian Taylor
Location: Wantage, OXON
Has thanked: 60 times
Been thanked: 332 times
Contact:

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by jtaylor » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:36 am

bakunin wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:50 am
I was shocked when I arrived in the second form, because although I had experienced bullying before, at CH the older boys actually had permission of the school to bully younger boys! I would say this is drastically different from any normal day school.
Yes, I think that’s a good point - and the inescapability of it 24/7, along with the “beneficiary guilt” to not rock the boat or say anything against the “amazing opportunities we were receiving” is likely what kept people quiet, and allowed it all to carry on. Some victims have said as much, in that they knew how lucky they were, and didn’t want to disappoint their parents.....
These users thanked the author jtaylor for the post (total 4):
bakunin (Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:28 am) • sejintenej (Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:31 am) • J.R. (Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:55 pm) • Otter (Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:10 am)
Rating: 23.53%
Julian Taylor-Gadd
Leigh Hunt 1985-1992
Image
Founder of The Unofficial CH Forum
http://www.grovegeeks.co.uk - IT Support and website design for home, small businesses and charities.

DazedandConfused
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:20 pm
Real Name: J
Has thanked: 97 times
Been thanked: 157 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by DazedandConfused » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:32 am

bakunin wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:50 am
jtaylor wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:29 am
In-house hierarchies gave kids power over each other - and some abused it, to a greater or lesser extent.

I don’t think this was unusual though across all schools - I was bullied and fought regularly with other kids at primary school too - so from what I saw CH wasn’t unusual at all?
I was shocked when I arrived in the second form, because although I had experienced bullying before, at CH the older boys actually had permission of the school to bully younger boys! I would say this is drastically different from any normal day school.
Absolutely agree with this. When I joined in the early 90s I was in the girls house with the reputation for the worst bullying. ‘Squit bashing’ was very much still in existence, almost ritualised in the way that it was carried out. If an older girl called ‘squit’ all second formers in the room had to come running. Sometimes it was just them looking for someone to make toast, but it could also be humiliating. I remember a particularly spiteful Dep making us dance for the entertainment of her boyfriend (not sexualised, just degrading). Beyond that, it was an upturned dustbin put over your head and then hit with hockey sticks, being made to shower in your pyjamas, blind folded assault courses in the dorm designed to outright terrify you. But it all seemed so normal and part of the fabric of CH that I accepted it, although I’m pleased to say the worst of it died out by the time I was a senior.
These users thanked the author DazedandConfused for the post:
bakunin (Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:18 am)
Rating: 5.88%

Foureyes
Grecian
Posts: 793
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:26 am
Real Name: David
Location: England
Has thanked: 0
Been thanked: 125 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by Foureyes » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:28 am

graham says: "...But I do think its worth considering whether separating the responsibilities of teaching staff from those of the house staff (or, at least, appointed dedicated house parents who are not part of the teaching staff) is something that would provide an additional layer of protection for pupils."

As a matter of historical interest that always was the system at C.H. until the move to Horsham in 1902 and, I believe, at Hertford until 1982. In general terms, under that system the academic staff simply turned up to take their lessons; they had little responsibility for the pupils outside teaching hours. Their head was the Upper Grammar Master - e.g.,Bowyer - but in about 1836 the title changed to Head Master (never Headmaster!) Outside those hours the children were organised and administered in their Wards by Matrons, who were very powerful figures, while the Warden was responsible for discipline, assisted by a number of Beadles. The Treasurer appears to have played an overall coordinating role and, unlike today, was a fulltime member of staff and was on-the-spot.

Despite the presence and powers of the Warden and his Beadles, control out of hours was by no means absolute, and there were periodic bullying scandals. There were also organised fistfights, which always took place at the foot of a particular staircase. The Beadles knew when one was due to take place and discretely kept away. They were fought with bare knuckles and, in essence, the winner was the last one standing. The two boys, their differences settled then went, usually arm-in-arm, to the infirmary to have their cuts and bruises treated. (To make sure I am not misunderstood, as far as I can make out these fights were between boys of similar age and physique, and were not a forum for institutionalised bullying)

Was that better or worse than the present system? As always, there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. It is clear that there were shortfalls in protecting children at Horsham in the 1970-1990s, but, on the other hand there were some frightful examples of bullying in London prior to 1902. The House/Housemaster system gives a cohesive body with one team responsible for the pupils' entire school career, while the London system divided responsibility for individuals into two quite separate parts - essentially, covering teaching and non-teaching hours. Also, if you want a 'dedicated house parent staff, who are not teachers, you would require a team for each house, and to give 24/7 coverage that would mean 2-3 per team - a sizeable group who would have to be accommodated and paid, adding to the school's financial burden.

I also believe that the monitors have a role to play. They have been through the system in the house and have also been selected by the housemasters for their role. They also, unlike the masters, move through the house on a daily, perhaps even hourly basis. I was told by a master in the 1990s that one of the unintended consequences of moving Grecians to their 'Grecian houses' had been to remove the top level of communal discipline in the houses, leaving control in the hands of younger and less mature members of the next year group. Whether this was true or not I do not know, but it might be worth exploring.

The fact is that NO system will ever be totally effective and completely foolproof.

David
These users thanked the author Foureyes for the post:
bakunin (Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:20 am)
Rating: 5.88%

Katharine
Button Grecian
Posts: 3115
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:44 pm
Real Name: Katharine Dobson
Location: Gwynedd
Has thanked: 89 times
Been thanked: 50 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by Katharine » Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:52 am

Our Housemistresses were non-teaching members of staff. I believe they were treated as second class members of staff. As I remember it, they had one afternoon off a week and one night away each term. They had two rooms to live in, sitting room downstairs. That was also her office and where you were admonished for all your failings. Upstairs she had a bedroom, no en suite.

It must have been a thankless task, no wonder that most were petty minded spinsters. The only reasonable ones were the widowed mothers, some of those actually understood teenage girls. I had a petty minded spinster, nicknamed The Hag which tells you what we thought of her. Again I’ll say that I knew of no sexual abuse at Hertford, but plenty of physical and mental bullying.
These users thanked the author Katharine for the post:
bakunin (Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:23 am)
Rating: 5.88%
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia!

Pe.A
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:05 pm
Real Name: RTroni
Has thanked: 92 times
Been thanked: 30 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by Pe.A » Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:24 pm

Avon wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:10 pm
The letter is even handed, but staid. My feeling is that there is real nervousness about liability here.

If the school ever goes close to admitting that there was organisational incompetence in the period of interest, then this needn’t be just about sexual abuse. There were some awful cases of bullying in my time, notably in LHB under Sillett and Lamb B under Shippen. If the school admits that it covered up sexual abuse, then are there some cases to answer in terms of bullying?
How on earth could anyone feasibly call the school to account for bullying between pupils?? Pls get real...

User avatar
postwarblue
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 409
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 12:12 pm
Real Name: Robert Griffiths
Location: Havant
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 39 times

Re: CH Letter re support for abuse survivors

Post by postwarblue » Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:07 pm

ca. 1947-49 there was a Yorkshire boy in Col B who was ruthlessly bullied by X... & his jackal Y... . One night the victim went to bed with his glasses on (no idea why). X & Y set upon him with their boleos as usual as soon as the monitor had gone. The victim discovered that his glasses were broken and had cut his face and went screaming into the lav end ''tis blood mate, 'tis blood'. The resulting racket was so bad that it disturbed AH Buck who came into the junior dorm and said - I remember this, personally, very clearly - 'This is the culmination of two years of disgusting bullying.' AHB therefore knew exactly what had been going on on his watch and had done nothing effective to stop it. Under those circumstances I should have thought the school was culpable.
These users thanked the author postwarblue for the post (total 4):
AMP (Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:29 pm) • TMF (Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:02 pm) • bakunin (Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:23 am) • Otter (Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:20 am)
Rating: 23.53%
'Oh blest retirement, friend to life's decline'

Post Reply