A punishment room is (or was) usually used for standardized chastisement that happened relatively routinely. The kind and severity of the punishment (e.g. the implement and number of strokes) is (or was) normally predetermined. In comparison, a torture chamber is (or was) used for much more cruel, unlimited, unpredictable and longer sufferings, and often interrogation. However both concepts have in common the idea of a room designed and equipped for the deliberate infliction of physical pain.
A punishment room, by its very existence, emphasizes two points:
- This is a place where corporal punishment is routinely administered.
- Punishment administered here is legimate and authorized.
Actual punishment rooms
Actual punishment rooms for real punishment are mostly a thing of the past. In certain eras and places they were found for example in monasteries, schools, reformatories, police stations and prisons. The general idea behind such rooms was that an institution that meted out a lot of corporal punishment might best set a room apart for this purpose. This had the advantage that the room could be prepared for easy and best admininistration, and came with the additional benefits of greater privacy and less disturbance to other people in the building.
Such a punishment room did not typically need to be large. It contained one item of special furniture to which the delinquent was bound or strapped for their punishment, such as a bench, birching block, birching horse, birching table or A-Frame. Other funiture was probably generally absent, leaving the room spartan, cold and functional.
Depending on house rules or local laws, one or two witnesses (who might also act as assisting persons) might have been routinely present to ensure the punishment was given correctly; neither in excess of the determined measure nor below it.
In September 2013, evidence of rooms set aside for the corporal punishment of children in a Twelve Tribes community in Germany was found. After a TV journalist managed to gather candid camera video material, police took away 40 children from the sect.
Fictional punishment rooms
Fictional (usually disciplinary) punishment rooms are found in many spanking novels and stories. Their settings are usually schools, reform schools, convents, prisons and similar places, and the delinquents chastised there are usually students, young novices or inmates.
After their guilt has been determined, the delinquent might be called or ordered to the punishment room. In other stories, he or she is taken there, either with their cooperation or by force.
There are probably also many spanking videos that picked up the punishment room concept.
BDSM play rooms
In BDSM, the distinction between the concepts of punishment room and torture chamber is often blurred, but the latter is generally more dominant and popular as it allows for greater play variations. Such rooms (or sets of several rooms) are often called dungeons and typically contain special furniture for bondage, and all kinds of toys (implements, BDSM and sex toys) that can be used in the sessions. Some might also be sound proofed so loud noises will not disturb neighbours.
- Punishment Room (original title Shokei no heya is a Japanese drama film from 1956, associated with the Japanese New Wave.
- For season six of the TV show Big Brother Australia, a new house with an original layout was constructed for this series, which included a Punishment Room to which rule-breaking housemates would be consigned. The delinquents in the Punishment Room were required to perform tedious, difficult, embarrassing, or mildly painful tasks and jobs, such as sorting white rice from brown rice, sanding a wooden cube into a sphere, or dancing around a sombrero for hours.
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