Assault Is Legally Wrong, But Why Is It Not Wrong When A Parent Hits A Child?
Why is violence inside the home, be it by parents, spouse, in-laws, siblings, or an insider in our society so acceptable?
Shivani’s teen daughter came running to Shivani after her online class and said, “Maa, you know what, one of my classmate’s mic was unmute and we all could hear her crying badly, and the sound of her mom beating. Soon, she muted herself, but I am shocked and feeling terrible. How can I help her? I have already messaged the teacher and hope she talks to that girl’s parents. But isn’t there any law which can prevent or punish a parent for beating their children badly?”
Shivani’s daughter had a valid point. Corporal punishment is taken as very normal in Indian families. Most of our generation or generations previous to that have grown up getting beaten up by our parents and we tend to justify that as ‘discipline’. Jokes circulate now as to what was used by our mothers to beat us, “belan, chappal, stick, broom” and people tend to laugh at that.
Beating is considered as the correct method to discipline children, teach manners and respect, or put them in their place. Now, when that child grows up he/she thinks it’s perfectly alright to follow the same rules for his/her children and another generation is raised with parents hitting them as punishment.
Why is this so?
As Shivani’s visibly shaken and disturbed daughter asked, “Why is it that instead of realizing that their parents had been wrong in beating them they continue to do the same with their kids?” That’s a million dollar question. The mothers-in-law who once were disrespected and abused as daughters-in-law continue doing the same with their own daughters-in-law instead of breaking the chain. Sometimes boys who saw their dads hit their mother do the same with their wife considering it to be the right thing to do!
During the earlier times, teachers used to throw dusters, hit the students with ruler and canes, slapped them, and that was not considered to be wrong by the teachers, parents or the society.
Hitting is just not the scars on the body, hitting also is humiliating
Just think of Shivani’s daughter’s classmate whose mic was unmute for a few seconds and the entire class and the teacher heard her cries and heard her getting beaten up; that was such a humiliation for her. Even domestic violence where husbands beat their wives is considered ‘normal’ by many families and the society and women are asked to tolerate and remain silent.
Why is violence inside the home, be it by parents, spouse, in-laws, siblings or an insider in our society so acceptable? Why are the victims asked to remain silent and bear it all as speaking up about would ‘tarnish’ the family image? Even laws are not really helpful here.
But just think once, what if as a grown-up you did a mistake or refuse something and you get hit or slapped… how would you feel?” The little children feel exactly the same..
Image source: a still from the film Taare Zameen Par
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