Nude Physical In Fourth GradeAs mentioned elsewhere on this board, Ridgewick elementary school was rather strict on the subject of check ups and vaccinations. We underwent physical exams at least once a year, usually around the beginning of the semester. These were embarrassing enough in themselves, but they were a normal part of our school routine, something we could laugh about once we got used to the novelty. All of this changed after we reached the fourth grade.
Some of you may recall a well-publicized "health scare" during the mid-70s. It received a great deal of media attention, generating a wave of moral hysteria which continued well into the 1980s. Following a “witch hunt” involving two nearby institutions, our School Board over-reacted to the perceived threat (to their reputation) by overhauling their health and safety regulations.
Amongst the many changes they ratified was a policy stating that every girl in the school had to submit to a complete physical. The District Court mandated the new policy, meaning that parental consent was not required. Literally nobody was exempt – the Board ruled that the examination was compulsory for all female students, regardless of their medical documentation. Any girl who failed to attend would be suspended indefinitely, and their parents would be prosecuted for truancy. Not surprisingly, very few families contested the "New Policy".
Starting in the fourth grade, we took our medicals in the main auditorium rather than the school clinic. Although the check-ups were gender-segregated, we were now required to remove all of our clothing. The physical was conducted in two parts; a preliminary exam for breathing, eyesight, hearing etc, followed by a "genital health" inspection by the school physician. For some of us, this was the very first time we’d ever been touched down there by a general practitioner, so the experience was somewhat traumatic to say the least.
After we were assembled in the auditorium, we were ordered to ***** down to our panties, leaving our clothes on a row of seats near the main doorway. There were various tables set up around the room where we were weighed and measured in groups of four. I guess this part wasn’t too bad, as it wasn’t much different to our previous exams. However, we were all rather nervous about the "New Policy"; the rumor mill had been in full swing for weeks and we had no concrete idea of what to expect.
After the preliminary was finished, we were instructed to step behind a screen and remove our panties. We did this one at a time, leaving our underwear in small plastic baskets on a long desk. The nurse then directed us to an examination table on the other side of the room. We later referred to this as "the walk of shame", due to the emotions induced by walking naked across the auditorium. We were no longer infants: none of us felt comfortable with public nudity – even in front of other girls – and the ordeal left us virtually breathless with shock.
Same as before, Dr Roberts checked us over from head to foot with his magnifying scope, noting birthmarks, scrapes and abrasions on his report. He also checked our flexibility, arching spines and stretching our limbs into unusual positions. Bear in mind that we were stark naked throughout all of this, our bodies on open display to everybody in the room.
I recall the Doctor telling me to stand before him with my legs spread and my hands laced behind my head while he examined my nipples and labia. At one point, he adjusted his magnifier and spread my lips with his thumbs. This was, of course, a terrible personal intrusion, but being so young, I could only gasp in silent humiliation. As in previous years, I had no idea what he was looking for (though naturally, I have my suspicions now). Mortifying though it was, I had absolutely no idea how much worse it was about to become.
After this cursory inspection, the real examination began. Directing me to lie down on the table, Dr Robur placed my legs in the semi-supine position, parting my knees to allow an unimpeded view of my vagina. One of the nurses appeared by his side with a clip board, jotting down notes as he muttered away in medical jargon. Feeling his fingers parting my lips once more, I bit my lip and held my breath, trying not to cry. He spread my labia much wider than he had before, leaning in for an extreme close up.
I suppose this only lasted a matter of seconds, but from my perspective it seemed like hours. I’m not sure if my memory is completely accurate in this regard, but I recall him touching and probing about inside while he discussed my intact hymen with the nurse. She scribbled something down on her clipboard, stepping in to confirm what he’d told her, then told me I could climb down from the table. The genital exam was finished.
The Doctor dismissed me with a wave of his hand, indicating I should put my panties back on. Walking back across the room was somehow more humiliating than the labial inspection. I remember many of us choking down tears as we made our way over to the screen. For me, it was one of the most degrading moments of my life, forced to parade naked and weeping before an auditorium absolutely packed with complete strangers.
That was possibly the worst part of this treadmill of humiliation: there seemed to be an awful lot of people in the assembly hall that day: teachers, school officials, health care workers and so on. Ostensibly, they were meant to ensure that the exams were performed according to state-approved protocols, but there appeared to be a large number of superfluous personnel – most of them male. I guess some of them might have been concerned parents, but I fail to see why the vice principal and his nameless assistants needed to be present.
Needless to say, the adults gave very little consideration to our feelings on the matter; the thought probably never crossed their minds. As far as they were concerned, we were children and it didn't matter if anyone saw us naked.