Child abuse

The media has been abuzz with the atrocious behavior of football players assaulting the women and children in their lives. As disgusting as that behavior is, what is also odious are the defenses being offered by prominent figures such as CNN’s Don Lemon and Charles Barkley for such abuse, saying that they received similar treatment from their parents when they were children and see nothing wrong with it or that it is somehow some cultural thing.

This is the common case of people thinking that their own experience is, or should be, universal. Just because you don’t resent the abuse you received does not mean that others do not suffer irreparable harm. I was fortunate in having parents who never hit me. But I was subjected to corporal punishment in school, being caned on two occasions. Even though I do not think I suffered any permanent harm from the canings (in both cases they were quick and clinical), I am totally opposed to corporate punishment of children of any kind in any place. I did see other students being subject to quite vicious punishments by teachers that would not surprise me if they caused serious and lasting damage.

Stephen Colbert took to task Sean Hannity who seems to revel in the fact that he was beaten quite severely by his father.

(This clip aired on September 18, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. AsqJames says

    Hi Mano,

    Completely off-topic, but I thought this might be in your bailiwick (so to speak):

    students protest proposed “censorship” of history curriculum

    The curriculum controversy stems from a board member’s proposal to form a review panel to promote patriotic material, respect for authority, and the free-market system. In turn, the panel would avoid material about “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

  2. moarscienceplz says

    the panel would avoid material about “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

    Like when those thugs who broke into a locked warehouse, stole a cargo of tea and threw it into Boston harbor?
    Or when some states formed an illegal army and attacked the USA at Fort Sumpter?
    Or when President Nixon illegally used money from his re-election fund to pay the Watergate burglars?

    Yeah, American citizens would probably become an unruly mob if they were taught about stuff like that.

  3. gshelley says

    I often see this type of “I was beaten as a child and it didn’t do me any harm” thing, especially on facebook. My (unwritten) response is “I disagree, it turned you into the sort of person who thinks its ok to beat children”

  4. Mobius says

    Hannity said that he deserved to be punched in the face by his father. One has to wonder what punishments he considers his own children to be deserving of.

    And what could a 3 year old have possibly done to deserve being bruised over his entire body?

  5. smrnda says

    This could be defensiveness that they don’t want their parents to look bad, but I don’t see why it would be so hard to decide that we may know better know, and so we shouldn’t repeat everything our parents did? Or perhaps it’s that by now, many defenders of hitting kids have already done the same on their own kids and don’t want to condemn themselves?

  6. dean says

    I believe it was Jon Stewart who said in a recent episode (essentially) “If you can’t do it to a 300 pound defensive lineman wearing shoulder pads and a helmet you shouldn’t do it to a young boy wearing wearing underwear.”

  7. doublereed says

    @4 Mobius

    In that same exchange he says that if he takes the iPad away from his kids that’s all he needs to do.

    Which only further undermines the point that beating children should be acceptable.

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