Switch (rod)

Switch (rod)

:other uses| Switch (disambiguation)A switch is a flexible rod, typically used for corporal punishment of the birching type, called switching after it, especially when using a single branch: multiple branches are rather called a "rod", a less flexible single rod is rather called a cane, an inflexible one a stick; a "paddle" is broader but hard and flattened.

Punitive switching

A switch makes an ominous 'swoosh' sound, rather like a whip, and can be agitated up and down quickly, so the lashes can rain down on the victim, mostly bare bottom so it can 'bite' the skin. While young children usually suffer it over the knee (or rather the lap), it can be more painful if the discipliner makes more elbow-room by ordering the punishee to lie or bend over an object, which can, especially if standing, increase the humiliation by exposing the genitals.

Switches are most efficient (i.e., painful and durable) if made of a strong but flexible type of wood, such as hazel (also use for a very severe birch) or hickory (see hickory stick); as the use of their names for disciplinary implements, without specification, and as verbs for lashing, indicates, birch and willow branches are time-honoured favorites, but branches from most strong trees and large shrubs can be used, often simply nearby from a garden, an orchard or the wild.

Making a switch is simply called cutting, as it only involves cutting it from the stem and removing twigs or directly attached leaves as those would lessen its sting (hence deliberately left on for sauna use). For optimal flexibility it is cut fresh shortly before use, rather than keeping it for re-use over considerable time. Some parents decide to make the cutting of a switch an additional form of punishment for a child by requiring the disobedient child to cut his/her own switch.

Parents in the United States (where the wider paddle is the most common spanking implement) are reputed to threaten disobedient children with gifts of utilitarian coal and switches for Christmas should they not reform their behavior, although the actual practice of this is rare to the vanishing point, especially as most people live in urban areas where less suitable wood is easily at hand for the old-fashioned woodshed treatment and most modern educators consider such severe physical discipline cruel and it is often banned by law as child abuse.
*The tamarind switch (in Creole English "tambran switch") is a judicial birch-like instrument for corporal punishment made from three tamarind rods, braided and oiled, used long after independence in the Caribbean Commonwealth island states of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.
*The Gilbertese tribal community at Wagina in Choiseul province (Solomon Islands) reintroduced by referendum in 2005 traditional "whipping" with coconut tree branches for various offences - the national justice system opposes this.

ee also

*Switchgrass

Sources and references

* [http://www.ecstagony.com/eng/dict/dicinstr/instr_t.htm Agony&Ecstasy - Dictionary of flogging instruments]
* [http://www.corpun.com/ WorldCorporalPunishmentResearch ]


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