The first Global Summit on Ending Corporal Punishment and Promoting Positive Discipline, June 2-4, hosted by S.M.U. psychology professor George Holden, Ph.D. in Dallas. Attending were activists representing twenty one countries who are dedicated to abolishing all forms of spanking, paddling, slapping, hitting and smacking of children world wide. We discussed studies that show corporal punishment produces no positive outcomes and is associated with increased aggression, as well as behavior and mental health problems. It also fosters lower IQ, poorer academic performance, and increased bullying.
Medical science has long recognized and documented in great detail how being struck on the buttocks can stimulate sexual feelings. Children are especially susceptible. The tragic consequence for many children who have been punished by paddling or spanking is that they form a connection between pain, humiliation and sexual arousal that endures for the rest of their lives.
Once again, a case of corporal punishment has become news in the media even though this form of punishment has been banned by the government following a ruling of the High Court in January this year. This time, an administrative officer has beaten a student of an English medium school in the city. This form of punishment, which is a violation of human rights, is an impediment to achieving real education.
In stark terms that serve as a reminder of what we’re talking about, the bill defines corporal punishment as “the deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping, or any other physical force used as a means of discipline.”
On Facebook, a lengthy exchange of written posts and ripostes by some of my Deming neighbors on HB 172 actually roused one person to cheer the armed policemen who recently used pepper spray on an eight year old in a Colorado classroom. “Kudos!” she wrote. “That kid will think twice next time.”
It is remarkable to witness such enthusiasm for police violence, appropriate or not, even when the subject is a child, with no equivalent enthusiasm for social workers and counselors who heal children’s hearts with listening and compassion. Children are not our enemies, but our deepest and most sacred responsibility.