Children. They remain the last group of human beings in our society where you can hit, humiliate, and molest them and still have a signification portion of the population pause and say such tactics are up for "debate." In all three of these scenarios, the perpetrators are very quick to dress up their actions in acts of "love" and caring – something abused women hear as well.
Today's Washington Post sums up the latest research on spanking, which says more of the same: spanking children is bad for both parent and child. The article also highlights data that proves hitting your child can lead to a lower IQ and/or desensitization to violence. Normalizing and desensitizing violence, to the point a child can no longer recognize it, is a terrible way to prepare him for adult life.
Spanking, beating, punishment, abuse, discipline, parenting or whatever word fits your agenda boils down to one thing: physically retaliating against someone who doesn't do or say whatever you want whenever you want. That's it.
But what does it matter? The people who are firmly in the pro-spanking camp aren't changing their minds changed, especially if they earnestly believe that spankings from their childhood did them good even if reality says otherwise.
Rather than watch this argument play out the way it always does, I'm asking the pro-spanking camp not only to justify their actions on a literally smaller and less powerful population but to take their convictions for a stroll in an environment with more equal footing.
One thing these spanking advocates have in common is that they inflict their beliefs on people who are not as strong or smart or capable. If it's really about teaching someone a lesson, then why does that belief cease to exist when a child hits a growth spurt or when faced with another adult of equal or greater physical size and strength?
I ask the pro-spanking advocates to approach a fellow adult (including their own kids!) and see what happens when these discipliners:
* make a 6' 1", 217 pound NFL running back strip naked and beat his body, including his genitals, with a switch because his team lost
* throw pens at a coworker in a meeting to get her attention
* grab a job interview candidate's shoulder and slam him into a wall because he won't make eye contact
* slap the face of a cashier when she gives incorrect change
* overturn a chessboard because the players waste time all day playing and they should do something more productive
* drop a large stack of books in front of a spouse's face to get her to stop reading the newspaper
* hit the back of an intern's head every time he misspells a word
* repeatedly snap fingers an inch away from the UPS guy's nose to get his attention
* grab the Starbuck barista's ear lobe, pull it close, and yell into her ear because she misheard the original order
(Sadly all those examples, except the first one, are ones I saw firsthand in childhood. I put them in an adult context.)
Make sure to emphasize that these actions come from a place of love and a loving desire to help these people do better in life. Remind the recipients that there's no harm intended and "discipline" hurts the perpetrator more than it hurts the recipients.
If you hesitate or are legitimately concerned about the consequences of your actions on the general public, then please explain to me, I beg you, why is it okay to treat a child that way but not an adult?
Maybe because a fellow adult has the intelligence, perspective, strength, and knowledge to fight back, fire you, and/or report your ass to the proper authorities and children do not? I could be wrong though.