Saturday, June 23, 2018 | ePaper

Corporal punishment is child abuse

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Sir Frank Peters :
It's a proven fact, the more caring that adults are in a child's life; many times greater are the chances of the child achieving success and happiness. - You reap what you sow.
It's also a proven fact that the more corporal punishment experienced as a child, greater are the chances of the child becoming aggressive, becoming a wife-beater, a child beater, and mentally unstable. - You reap what you sow.
From time to time people are known to shake their head in dismay, perhaps even in total disgust, yield a long big sigh and ask why there's so much cruelty in the world.
Don't expect to find the answers here. I only know corporal punishment, whether administered in the home, school or madrasah, is a major contributing factor that might trigger in a person a lifetime of unacceptable behaviour that manifests in a myriad of undesirable ways and accounts for much of the violence in society today.  - You reap what you sow.
Is it too much to ask that schools and madrasahs be child friendly? It doesn't make sense that some 'teachers' attempt to beat-in the 'love' of God through fear, belittlement, chiding, and violence. Their definition of love, no doubt, is different to most.
Children are our future… especially during elections
From time to time politicians scream, 'children are our future' and some even sound genuine, sincere and convinced by their own rhetoric, but most times they're mere words taken from an empty stomach or formed from the echo of a belch. There's little to no evidence of any action actually taken to resolve the issues and help the children, but the rhetoric, admittedly, always make a good sound bite for TV audiences and appeals especially to the proletariat, ignorant and easily pleased, especially during electioneering.
Children are forever mystified by corporal punishment. In a God-loving religious setting they are told God loves them, but then to have the message beaten-in with sticks and leather belts, understandably, makes the lessons a mockery and hard for them to believe and accept.  
In many countries where there's corporal punishment performed in schools and madrasahs, the children (the intelligent ones at least) ask themselves, 'if my parents love me, as they say they do, why do they send me to a school/madrasah where I'm abused and beaten?' Indeed, why?
God works in mysterious ways
 They say God works in mysterious ways, but I doubt giving corporal punishment to children is one of them.
Ignorance, in its absence or in its presence, plays a major role in a child's upbringing.  A child is unfortunate to have corporal punishment ignorant parents or corporal punishment ignorant 'teachers'. God help him/her, if subjected to both!
A child needs corporal punishment like he/she needs chicken pox. In fact, the chicken pox is less harmful, that goes away after a few days, but the memories of corporal punishment could scar or ruin a child for life.
Go to any library, or quality bookshop, and ask for a book on the benefits of corporal punishment and you'll be directed to the Fiction Section.
Sure, there are people who believe there are benefits, but these are ignorant or totally misguided and use it as a cover-up for their own failings and weaknesses. Countless research attests to that.
Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., a Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University, who carried out extensive studies on the subject recently said: "You cannot punish out the behaviors that you do not want. Therefore, there is no need for corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is a horrible thing that does not work."
Bangladeshi superheroes Justice Md. Imman Ali and Justice Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif, who outlawed corporal punishment in Bangladesh schools and madrassas on January 13, 2011, described corporal punishment as 'cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child's fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom'.
A survey by the University of Texas found children who were smacked in childhood were more likely to be physically aggressive towards their partners as adults.
If we are to believe that children are human. We must also accept they have feelings similar to our own. What adult do you know who welcomes being slapped in the face with a shoe; kicked, hair-pulled, ears-twisted, beaten across the head with a metal scale or otherwise abused? Corporal punishment, unquestionably, is child abuse that's been falsely labelled as discipline.
Controversial outspoken American pastor Reverend Thomas E. Sagendorf emphasizes that any school that practices corporal punishment is run by "a failed administration and teachers who practice corporal punishment are failed teachers and unworthy to be members of the otherwise noble profession".
There is absolutely NO justification for corporal punishment. There is NEVER justification for hitting a child. An adult who hits a child demonstrates his/her own lack of control and inability to address the given situation in a sensible mature manner.
Corporal punishment is a medieval torture, performed characteristically by people with an ignorant, medieval mind-set who still believe the world is square.
Corporal punishment is often used not to correct wrong behaviour by the child, but rather to express anger by the teacher/parent and that takes it into the 'red zone' danger area where most serious injuries to children occur.
Remember Tauhidul Islam (R.I.P)
In northeast Delhi recently a Class V student was brutally beaten by a 'teacher' with a plastic pipe over a minor issue .
A 'teacher' at the Elim Primary School has come under fire for duct-taping the mouths of four pupils as punishment for talking in class.
A female 'teacher' at National Talent School at Vaddadi mercilessly beat up a student and fractured her arm, as she had not done her homework.
In another incident a Class 4 student collapsed and fell unconscious after an angry 'teacher' threw an object at him that hit him in the groin.
A 'teacher' in Chittagong was sent to jail recently for throwing a duster at an eight-grade student who may now lose an eye.
Omar Faruq, a 12-year-old madrasa student in Mymensingh was not only beaten up by a 'teacher', but also confined inside the madrasa for three days without medical attention. As I write, he is in an unstable condition and undergoing treatment at MMCH.
Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum's Child Rights Violation Data 2018 shows in the first three months of 2018, a total of 56 students were injured as a result of physical torture at educational institutions. It gets worse, a HELL of a lot worse… last month Tauhidul Islam, an 11-year-old madrasa student, died after being severely beaten by his 'teacher'.       
How horrific and inhumane can corporal punishment get? Maybe there's a Guinness Book of Records for such that I don't know about.
Corporal punishment teaches violence in a world that's already chronically ill with violence. Why make it worse?
The easiest solution to preventing corporal punishment is simply to say 'no'. No is a mighty powerful word for its size and should be used firmly by both pupils and parents whenever the need arises.
Remember, remember, remember Tauhidul Islam. If corporal punishment didn't exist, he'd be alive today. Don't be afraid to speak out. Don't allow your child to be the next victim. Corporal punishment is child abuse, evil, and wrong.

 (Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, royal goodwill ambassador, humanitarian, and a foreign friend of Bangladesh.)

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