I don't know how many times I've read the Beatles Anthology over the years, but somehow I managed to miss the implications of this passage:
I'd found out about sex at a very early age, twice. Two girls told their mother that I'd had their knickers off and was looking at them and feeling them. This was when I was eight. We were all kids; we were just looking and touching - the natural way of growing up. It was like living on a farm. We had a friend whose sister we could all feel. We wouldn't do anything else; we'd just look at it and feel it, and all laugh.
I most certainly do not blame eight-year-old Ringo for failing to realize how terrible his actions were. It looks like he was following the example of other children, possibly older children. At eight I doubt he was able to understand what was going on, and it's not a surprise that he assumed there was nothing wrong with what he was doing.
But the way adult Ringo discusses it gives me shivers. "The natural way of growing up"? That little girls should learn they have no right to their bodies, that it's no big deal for any passing boy to feel up her cunt, whether she likes it or not? Ringo says that he had a friend "whose sister we all could feel". They all could feel her? According to who? The sister? Somehow I doubt it. Ringo doesn't spare a word for the perspective and well-being of the girls his child-self assaulted. It's all about how natural and normal his own behavior was. A variation on the old classic, "Boys will be boys". And girls will be things, apparently.