Three girls experience judicial punishment in South America

 By Julie Baker

My name is Louise Chalmers. I was born in January 1997, which means that I am currently 22 years old. The events that I want to tell you about happened 18 months ago during the summer of 2017, when I was just 20. Before I do this, though, I ought to give you a bit of background information on me and explain how I came to be in a foreign country half way round the world from where I am now.

I’ve got four older brothers and I was the long-awaited daughter who completed my parents’ family. I suppose I was a bit of a tomboy in my early days but when I matured as a teenager I shot up in height and suddenly became very much like my mother to look at, who was a noted beauty in her younger days. She has Scandinavian blood in her ancestry and I have inherited her thick, tousled, blond hair and warm skin complexion. I do a lot of running combined with Pilates so I am supple with firm muscle tone and a compact body. My mother has always told me to use my beauty wisely. It’s a wonderful gift but she warned me that it could lead to unhappiness if it is used in the wrong way. Wise words!

My brothers and I had a very conventional upbringing. My mother is a nurse by profession and my father serves in the British Army as a chaplain in The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department. My father’s career meant that we moved around a lot and I went to several different schools before I reached the age of 13. Like my brothers, I then went away to boarding school, which was funded by the army. I went to a mixed school in Somerset, which I enjoyed immensely. It was first class academically, and the sporting facilities were fantastic. It also had a very strong Christian ethos that ideally suited my background. My personality is quite outgoing but my upbringing has engendered a strong moral compass and a close involvement in the church.

I was Head Girl in my final year in Somerset and had never been in any sort of serious trouble at home or at school. I got three grade ‘A*’s in my A Levels and I got a place to study Geography at Cambridge University. Life could not have been better. I settled into university life without difficulty and soon had a good circle of close friends through athletics and contacts in my department. I even acquired a very nice boyfriend.

It was normal for Geography students to undertake a project during the summer vacation at the end of the first academic year. Depending on anyone’s area of specialty, this might involve fairly local assignments or occasionally a short trip abroad. My area of interest was on the human geography side of the faculty, and in particular studies of developing countries. There were a few bursaries available to students who needed support to travel abroad for their project work and I was fortunate, along with two other girls in my department, to gain funding to travel to South America for three weeks. The funding wasn’t lavish but it was enough to fly us to the capital city of the country and get a three-bed shared room in a reasonably decent hostel. We then had to fund our own living expenses, which seemed reasonable to us.

My two companions proved to be great company. We were all aged 20 but from very different backgrounds. I knew Felicity Hanson-Smith quite well. She was in the same college as me and we had several areas of interest in common. Her family farmed in Sussex in a fairly major way and she always seemed to have plenty of spare cash about her, unlike me! We were close friends before the trip and still are now. Maria Cortez is a bit different to us. She is of Hispanic extraction and a particularly striking-looking girl with dark, sultry looks and quite a volatile personality. Always up to something and looking for the next adventure, a good foil to my more conservative pattern of behaviour. We got to know her well on our trip and by the end we loved her to bits, despite how things turned out for all of us.

This is the first hint for you that the trip did not end well for us. I haven’t named the country that we visited and the reasons for this may become apparent as I take you through the events of those three weeks. We didn’t cover ourselves in glory and were architects of our own downfalls but, nevertheless, how we were treated by the authorities does not reflect well on their judicial system. But given that the initial faults did lay with us it doesn’t feel right to then criticise that country over how we were dealt with and eventually punished. In reality, if you visit a developing country you have to be prepared for their systems to be different from ours.

The trip actually started without incident. We settled into the hostel and got on with collecting data on the lives of young single mothers, trying to manage in the teaming capital city with little in the way of social or financial support from the government. The country is simply too poor to be able to afford these types of payments. Some of the data was collected from libraries and government departments, and some was gathered via street interviews. Maria spoke fluent Spanish, so she did most of this work, backed up by ether Felicity or myself.

We were exhausted by the end of each day. We might occasionally go to one of the tourist bars for a drink after work, but would normally go straight back to the hostel to cook ourselves an evening meal before crashing into bed. We were soon into our last week and Maria suggested that we went for one final big night out in town on our last full day, which was a Thursday. We had bookings for an overnight flight back to Heathrow departing at 8.00pm on the following day.

We were so happy! I’m not a big drinker but I had two large glasses of wine in the bar before the three of us went along the street to the restaurant that Maria had booked for us. I had more wine and was feeling distinctly tipsy as we went back to the original bar for a nightcap, as Maria put it. By then it was past 10 o’clock and the bar was becoming quite noisy. We knew that Maria was partial to smoking the odd joint, and this practice seemed to be quite widespread in the locality. It wasn’t long before she was enjoying a smoke and was offering the same to us. Felicity and I initially declined, but I must confess that we were taking a few drags on the joints she was smoking to see what affect this had on us. This turned out to be a big mistake.

We were three pretty English girls on their own and it was probably fairly obvious to everyone else in the bar that we had all had too much to drink and were dabbling in drugs. Two local boys came to sit at our table. They were mainly talking to Maria as they spoke little English. They were both about our age and very good looking. After a few minutes of chat Maria turned to us.

“They want to have sex with us,” Maria translated for our benefit.

“But there’s three of us and two of them,” I shot back. “How is that going to work?”

There was much laughter when this was relayed back to the boys. The banter went on for a bit, but gradually I could tell that the mood was changing. I think they thought that we had been leading them on and when, eventually, Maria told them that there was no chance of any sex with any of us they looked distinctly upset. At this point, an older man came across and spoke to the boys who then left the bar.

We thought nothing more of it. We had another couple of drinks and shared another joint before gathering ourselves up to return to the hostel. As we got up, three policemen came in. My heart sank. They came straight to our table and told us, in broken English, that they were arresting us on drugs charges. Clearly, those boys had shopped us. Fifteen minutes later, we had been split up and were being held in the main central police station. I was absolutely petrified. The vicar’s daughter from a top British university in a police cell in South America on drugs charges. It doesn’t get much worse!

After half an hour in the cell, I was taken through to an interview room with nothing in it other than a table and three chairs. A male and a female police officer sat on one side of the table and me on the other. Their English was just about adequate, but they refused me an interpreter or any legal representation. The female officer took notes, but the interview was not recorded in any other way. I gave a totally honest and accurate account of the night’s events. I was too frightened to do anything else. I explained why we were in their country, that this was our last night, that I’d had too many glasses of wine and that I had foolishly taken a few puffs of my friend’s joint. I then wondered what would happen next.

Worse was to come, unfortunately. At the end of the interview the female officer left the room and soon returned with a young lady in a white coat. She spoke good English and had a kindly manner.

“I am a doctor, Louise,” she told me. “With these two police officers as witnesses, I need to search you to see if you have any drugs in your possession. Please remove all of your clothes.”

I was horrified. Stripping naked in front of three strangers, one of whom was a man, was simply the most horrific prospect. I could see that I had no choice though. They were on the far side of the table and I decided that this act would be less humiliating if I turned my back towards them. I moved the chair out slightly and stood between the table and the chair, facing the far wall. I took off my blouse and bra, placing them on the seat of the chair. I then took off my trainers and socks. They could see my naked back, but my lower half was still covered by my skinny-fit blue jeans and underwear beneath. I took a deep breath before unfastening my jeans and easing them down to floor level before stooping down to remove them completely. I was then dressed only in a thong.

“Do I need to take my panties off?” I asked over my shoulder. I knew the answer that would likely be coming back and it really wasn’t going to make much difference as my bottom was pretty much on full view anyway.

“Yes, Louise,” the doctor replied. “The regulations for a drugs search state that you have to be totally naked.”

I slipped off my underwear and added this garment to the small pile on the seat of the chair.

I’ll spare you the details of that body search. The lady doctor put on thin latex gloves covered in lubricant and there was no part of my body that didn’t get a thorough search. At the end, I had to stand facing the table with my hands on my head while the female police officer searched my clothes. I looked straight ahead but I could sense the male police officer staring at me intently. His eyes were fixed on my naked breasts and I could only guess what was going through his mind.

Finally the male officer spoke to me as best he could.

“You can get dressed now, Miss Chalmers. Please put on your lower underwear and this prison overall.” He produced an orange set of overalls from beneath the table. “You will spend the night here at the police station and there is a young offenders court that runs in this building in the morning from 9 o’clock. You and your friends will be up in front of the judge, and your punishments will be decided. The clothes that you came here in will be returned to you when you have completed your sentence. Thank you. Have you any questions?”

“No, sir,” I replied.

With this, the male police officer departed and I was left with the other two to get dressed before being escorted out of the interview room. The female officer put my clothes into a sealed bag and I was soon back in my cell. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night and when I saw Maria and Felicity in court at 9.30 the following morning, I could see that they were not in good shape either. We were all a bit hung over, tired and petrified about what was going to happen to us next. The court room was nothing very grand; a small wooden dock in the centre of the square room, where we were sat on small stools, plus chairs laid out on either side, and a very substantial ornate table in front of the dock, behind which the judge sat on a high backed chair.

The judge was female, probably in her mid-forties, and spoke perfect English. We were handcuffed, with all three of us dressed in identical orange overalls. We had nobody to chaperone or look after us and we were seemingly at the mercy of this one judge. As soon as she spoke, though, I could tell that we were going to get a fair hearing. She leaned forward and looked over her glasses at us.

“You are three very foolish girls,” she started out with. “I know that you have come here to try to help countries like ours that are not as wealthy as yours. However, we have laws and standards that must be upheld by citizens of our country and visitors alike. We do not tolerate the use of illegal drugs and those caught can expect to be dealt with severely.”

This part was not what I wanted to hear and I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. She continued.

“However, all three of you have given a seemingly honest account of the events last night with your three versions showing up virtually no discrepancies, with one exception that I will deal with later. The situation is therefore quite straightforward, and there is no requirement for any more questioning. I will now pass sentence on each of you in turn. Miss Cortez, please stand.”

Maria slowly got to her feet.

“Miss Cortez, you have admitted that you supplied the drugs to your two friends, and drugs were found to be in your possession when you arrived here at the police station. As you are mainly responsible for this situation, you will be given no choice in terms of the punishment that you will be given. You will be taken from here and given 20 strokes of the cane across your buttocks, without protection, and you will spend a total of 28 days in prison. You will then be deported at your cost and not permitted to re-enter this country for the next 10 years Do you understand?”

Maria looked remarkably calm and showed almost no reaction to what she was being told by the judge. I suppose, for supplying drugs to others, this could have been far worse. She confirmed that she understood her punishment and sat down.

“Miss Hanson-Smith, please stand.” Felicity got to her feet and I could see her hands were shaking with nerves. “You initially denied taking any of the drugs, but when faced with a blood test you belatedly told the truth. However, no drugs were found in your possession, which will help to reduce your sentence. You have a choice; 20 strokes of the cane across your buttocks, without protection, or 28 days in prison. I understand that you have a flight home later today. If you take the caning, you are free to collect your possessions later this morning and catch that flight home. If you go to prison, you will have to pay for your own flight back to England. Either way, you will not be permitted to come back here for a total of 5 years. Do you understand, and what is your choice?”

Felicity looked like a rabbit in the headlights. She must have seen something like this coming, given that she had sat and heard Maria’s sentence, but her mouth kept opening and closing, while her eyes flashed frantically around the court room. She seemed to be desperately hoping that something or someone would rescue her. There was a quite a long pause, but eventually she managed to regain her composure.

“Yes, I understand and I’ll take the cane, your honour,” Felicity replied with a trembling, squeaky voice. As she turned to resume her seat, I could see that she was visibly traumatised and her eyes were filled with tears. The pretty English farmer’s daughter, from a very privileged background, in a foreign prison about to have to remove her clothing, including her knickers, so that she could have her bottom caned. Not great!

Finally, it was my turn. I anticipated that my punishment would be less again as I had immediately owned up fully to my part in this debacle. I harboured hopes that I might get away with a warning and be sent packing on the flight home that night. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite that good.

“Miss Chalmers, I will deal with you next,” the judge said. I got to my feet.

“The court would like to thank you for fully co-operating with the police and giving a full and frank account of last night’s events. We also acknowledge that you had a minor role in this affair.”

My spirits and hopes were rising.

“However,” she continued. “You have admitted to taking drugs, and this is illegal in this country. I sentence you to 10 strokes of the cane across your buttocks, without protection, or 14 days in prison. As with the other two, you will need to pay your own costs to get home if you have a term in prison but, unlike the other two, you will be free to return to this country at any time in future if you wish. How do you want to proceed, Miss Chalmers?”

To hear that I, too, was likely to get my bottom caned was expected, but it still managed to shock me in that moment of time. The impending horror flashed in front of my eyes, but I had already made up my mind on how I would proceed if I was given a similar choice to Felicity.

“I’ll take the caning, your honour,” I replied without hesitation.

It was instinctive. I had done wrong and I should take my punishment as quickly and cleanly as possible. A spell in jail seemed horrendous, with many more potential implications going forward. I felt it was a bit like getting caught speeding, but going on a speed awareness course rather than taking the 3 points on your license. However, as I was led away from the court room, I couldn’t help focusing on the phrase ‘without protection’. The reality of what this meant was just sinking in.

The three of us were led down into the basement of that building and through a door labelled ‘Cuadra de Castigo’ (which I later discovered meant ‘Punishment Block’). Beyond the door was a short passageway with two doors leading off on either side, and a door at the end labelled ‘Cuarto de Castigo’ (or ‘Punishment Room’ in English). The only lighting was artificial and the floor consisted of bare concrete. The doors on either side of the passage were numbered 1 to 4 and there was a small window in each door covered with a metal grill. Felicity was ushered into cell 1, Maria went into the cell opposite, which was number 2, and I went into cell 3, which was next to Felicity. I could see Maria across the passage, but we were told that we were not to talk to each other. I couldn’t see Felicity as she was in the next-door cell. However, there were no thoughts of disobeying any orders under those circumstances.

I could see my clothes in a sealed bag on the floor of my cell, and I looked forward to when I could change back into them after this nightmare was over. I sat on a simple stool in the corner and time seemed to stand still. Eventually, I heard a door slam and footsteps in the corridor. I got up and looked through the grill. I caught a glimpse of Felicity as she was escorted out of her cell and through the door into the punishment room. I couldn’t see who was with her, but it looked like three other people. The door closed behind them, but this door also had a grill in it and we could hear a bit of what was happening on the other side.

We heard muffled voices and then a period of silence. Next, we heard the unmistakable whistle of a cane and the impact of it landing on Felicity’s bottom. A split second later, we could hear Felicity’s scream of pain. And she had 19 more strokes to come! She didn’t take that caning quietly. She was bellowing after every stroke, and between strokes she was begging them to stop. They didn’t let up, though, and by the end we could here her sobbing with the pain and humiliation. I remained seated as she returned to her cell so that I couldn’t see her distress. Witnessing her in this state wasn’t going to be any help to me!

A few minutes later, I could hear someone else in the corridor. I got up and it was the lady doctor going into Maria’s room. She spoke to her in Spanish and, a few moments later, the two of them emerged from the cell. Maria didn’t catch my eye, but I could see that she was frightened and, despite her dark colouring, looked distinctly pale. The same routine followed and I knew that the brief period of silence, when the only sound were the now gentle sobs coming from Felicity, was the prelude to the punishment starting. Once again, I counted twenty cane strokes but, apart from the swish of that implement cutting through the air and the sound of cane meeting flesh, there was no other noise coming from that room. Maria took that punishment without a murmur.

I stood at my door and watched the doctor take her back to retrieve her bag of possessions. Unlike Felicity, though, she immediately left with handcuffs applied, presumably to start her prison sentence elsewhere. I didn’t see her again until the autumn term at Cambridge.

I knew then that I was the only one left to be dealt with, and it wasn’t long before my door was unlocked and the lady doctor was addressing me.

“Miss Chalmers, we are ready for you now,” she said in a not unkind voice. “Follow me.”

We went through into the punishment room. The sight that greeted me can only be described as surreal. This time the day before, I was an innocent girl of 20 who had never been in serious trouble, and had certainly not experienced any physical punishment of any sort. And here I was, a day later, about to receive ten cane strokes on my bare bottom.

There were indeed three people in attendance. The lady doctor, another tall female police officer who I hadn’t seen before, and a short, thick-set man dressed in blue work trousers, boots and a white tee shirt. He had a shaved head and looked to be in his mid-forties.

Like most things in that country, the room was nothing lavish. It was about 4 meters square with whitewashed rough stone walls, no windows and a basic concrete floor. It was furnished with two simple wooden benches along the walls, a tall stone vase in one corner containing several long canes, and nothing else apart from what was in the centre of the room. Here, there was a lovely square of Turkish-style carpet laid out. I could see that is was of high quality with a thick, luxurious pile, but it was the item that stood on the carpet that was the most remarkable feature of the room. It was clearly visible because, unlike most of the room which was shadowy at best, this central area was strongly lit by four spot lights set into the ceiling.

There was no doubt about the purpose of the piece of equipment standing in the middle of the carpet square. Without any prior knowledge, I immediately knew that this was a punishment bench. In itself, it was a beautiful piece of furniture. It was just under a metre long, about half a metre wide, and stood at my hip height. Each corner was made up of elegant turned posts made of a reddish hard wood like mahogany, and highly polished, giving a lovely lustre to the smooth surfaces. The top was gently ‘U’ shaped and covered in padded red leather. On each corner post, close to ground level, were short leather straps fastened to the wooden corner pieces and lined with soft foam. It looked like it had been designed with no expense spared, and solely for the comfort of the user!

I’m not sure if anyone else in that room was able to appreciate the irony of this set up. I was about to take a very painful caning, yet this bench was designed to be attractive to look at and provide me with the best experience possible when I was lying on it. Furthermore, there was no danger of my bare feet being disadvantaged as they nestled into the soft carpet. Bizarre!

The lady police officer spoke first. She was a little older than me, maybe about 30, and she also spoke good English.

“Miss Chalmers, you have opted to take 10 strokes of the cane across your buttocks, without protection, rather than spend 14 days in jail. This is your final opportunity to change your mind before I carry out your sentence. What is your decision?”

“I’ll take the cane, thank you, miss,” I replied in as strong a voice as I could manage.

“OK.” She turned to the male attendant. “Please remove her handcuffs.”

He took out a bunch of keys from his pocket and the handcuffs were soon off my wrists.

“Please go over to the bench and stand facing down it, and lower the top half of your overalls to waist level,” she continued.

Once again, I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest. I did as instructed and I was acutely aware that I was now naked from the waist upwards, and that the male attendant, who had taken up a position at the far end of the bench, was staring directly at my naked breasts. This was unsettling and uncomfortable, but there was really nothing that I could do to change the situation.

“Please now bend over the bench, leaving your feet where they are, and letting your arms drop down onto the far side.”

I knew that as soon as I let go of the loosely-fitting overall that gravity would dictate it would end up around my ankles. As I reached forward to take up my position, this is precisely what happened. By the time the weight of my chest was onto the soft leather surface, I was pretty much entirely naked apart from my tiny thong. My head remained unsupported and I was able to move it around to see most parts of the room.

I heard the lady officer say in Spanish, what I took to be: “Fasten her straps.”

I then had the uncomfortable experience of that huge man moving round my exposed body, fastening first my two ankles to the frame of the bench, and finally immobilising my two wrists also. He then stood directly behind me, close to the door where I couldn’t see him, but he had no doubt given himself the best view for what was about to follow.

I glanced across and saw the lady officer sorting through the selection of canes before she removed one that was clearly to her liking. It was a bit longer than I expected, thin with a high degree of flex. I’m not sure what I was hoping for but this looked as though it would be very unpleasant. I was clinging onto the hope that they would grant me a bit of dignity by leaving my underwear in place. No such luck though! The police officer said something in Spanish and I then felt the rough hands of the male attendant against my skin as my thong was being lowered to knee level. I then felt the palm of his hand brushing both sides of my bottom as he seemingly removed a few stray specs of dust from my skin.

I couldn’t move, and my now totally exposed bottom was perfectly presented to receive the cane.

Nothing more was said, and I felt the cane tapping on my bottom. Nothing could have prepared me for that first stroke; a line of pure fire across my skin. The sound of it I was prepared for, having heard it applied to Maria’s and Felicity’s bottoms, but the pain inflicted was way beyond what I was expecting. I was trying to be brave, but I did let out a sharp squeak of anguish. After a few more strikes of the cane, I could feel the tears running down my face and I was keeping up a low moaning sound to try to help me cope.

The police officer was a strong girl, and I could see that she was taking long swings to apply the cane with maximum force. She was leaving about 10 seconds between each stroke, so the whole process must have lasted less than two minutes. That was the worst and longest two minutes of my life. By the end, I was sobbing uncontrollably and, even after my straps had been released, I couldn’t summon the energy to get up off that bench. Eventually, the doctor spoke.

“Alright, Louise, it’s all over now,” she said in a gentle voice as she helped me off the bench and back onto my feet. “Pull up your panties and overalls, and let’s get you back to your cell.”

My poor bottom was throbbing horribly, but I gently eased my thong up and put my arms back through the sleeves of the overall so that I was once again totally covered. I made no eye contact with the other two people in the room and I was soon back in my cell with the doctor.

“Do you want me to rub something into your skin to ease the pain?” she offered kindly.

“No, thank you,” I replied. “I really just want to get back into my own clothes, get out of here, collect my possessions from the hostel, and catch that flight back to England!” I managed to say this with a bit of humour in my voice.

She simply held out her hand. We shook, and as she left me she said: “Good Luck!”

There is not much more to tell really. I met up with Felicity back at the hostel. We didn’t talk much as we were busy packing our things before catching a taxi out to the airport. We were in plenty of time to catch our flight home, and over a coffee we began to compare notes. Our experiences had been similar, apart from the fact that she had taken twice as many cane strokes as me.

“I’m sorry that I made all that fuss,” she said.

“Don’t worry, I couldn’t have taken 20,” I replied. “That was tough for you.”

“Have you had a look at your bottom, Louise,” she then asked.

“No. Have you?”

“Not yet. Shall we nip to the loos and compare cane marks?”

The two of us sneaked into one of the disabled toilets where there was a bit more space. Felicity lowered her jeans and panties first. What a mess! The lines went from top left down to bottom right, presumably because the lady officer was tall and, being right-handed, this would be a natural angle to strike someone with a cane. I could see the odd red line around the margins of her bottom, but mostly it was a mass of inflamed skin around the central part.

I then dropped my trousers and panties. Felicity had a look and reckoned that she could actually count all ten cane marks on my skin. I had a look in the mirror; not a pretty sight!

I would have to say that the long flight home was not comfortable. Our bottoms were still smarting all the way back, and we spent as much time as possible standing at the back of the plane. Remarkably, there were no repercussions when we got home. The tabloid press would no doubt have been delighted to report on three pretty young English girls getting their bottoms caned in a foreign land, but seemingly nothing had been made of it and we were free to carry on our lives.

I didn’t tell my parents about what had happened, and the university were not interested in the detail of our trip because we had completed the work we set out to do. They were none the wiser. Maria was back in time for the autumn term, although her parents must have been aware that she was back a month later than planned. However, we never asked and, apart from checking that she was OK, we concluded that this was, for all of us, an episode best left buried in the past.

The End

© Julie Baker 2019

Julie welcomes contact from her readers. Email at:   or Julie’s Twitter address is: @JulieBaker_cane