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What do you call it when an adult snatches a slender 10-year-old boy off his feet, slams the boy repeatedly onto a concrete pavement then punches the boy’s mouth knocking out teeth and leaving other embedded in the boy gums. It is child abuse, pain and simple.

Can you imaging this happening to your 10-your-old child? This was the heinous form of torture is what a man reportedly inflicted on somone else’s child in the heart or Roseau recently.

There is nothing this 10-year-old could have done or said could in any way justify such a sadistic beating at the hands of a full-grown adult. This particular incident might be beyond the pale, but the stunning reality is there are a number of incidents of uncalled-for brutality and abuse against children every day in our society go unreported.

What is especially striking about this incident is that it occurred in broad daylight around lunchtime in one of the most densely populated streets in Roseau (Dominica). Many onlookers just stood there instead of immediately rushing to stop the brutality.

In general, Dominican society seems to be tolerant to physical punishment to children. Many adult in Dominica, and indeed in some other parts of the Caribbean, especially parent who support the use of the proverbial ‘rod’ against wayward children. They see nothing wrong with inflicting physical and psychological violence to discipline children, when they get out of hand. I can openly confession that my mom too believed in the proverbial rod but there’s point where disciplining a child turns to abuse.
And it takes just a single act of physical or psychological violence to turn a child against parents, against adults, or society in general, with far-reaching negative consequences. Sometimes we wonder why our children behave the way they do.

If we continue to have this carelessness forwards all forms of child abuse will give sadists and perverts leeway to do much harm to our children. We in Dominica must strive to live up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by investigating all cases of child abuse quickly and thoroughly, and by ensuring that all perpetrators feel the full hand f the law, otherwise I’m afraid that soon people might take the law into their own hands.

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For many years the attitude in Dominica towards men “chastising” their women to where it is now seen as physical abuse, is an example of how perceptions change. For generations, a number of Dominican women, without seeing themselves as masochistic, often voiced their appreciation of a man who gave them some “licks or beatings”. They saw this as a sign that the man cared for them, and if not he would have been indifferent to the others.

Weird as it sounds, this type of thinking is not far removed from that where we commend chastisement (corporal punishment) of children as a necessary result of caring for them. While a woman is not a child, the idea that “love” was what prompted the beatings appealed not only to some men, but the women being beaten as well, perhaps in an attempt to rationalise the experience.

Nowadays, no such ideas are favoured and female magistrates have warned that they will be dealing harshly with men who beat women. I’m anticipating that if the shoe is on the other foot, where it is the woman who is found guilty of beating her man, will the court also not be amused. I’ve heard on many instances where men have reported abuse from women – and these cases were never investigated.

The law warns that matters “of a domestic nature are not going to be treated lightly by the courts,” and advised people about the need to be clear about ending relationships. It is the growing tendency of many relationships to have physical abuse as a feature that is causing concern. The idea of men beating up women and then kissing and making up or vise-versa is not encouraged these days, maybe because a growing number of such situations have been getting out of hand, sometimes with fatal results.

What is ironic about those who find themselves in a “chastising” mode is that it is always the weaker partner who usually is chastised. The stronger one, however wrong or “deserving of being chastised”, need have no such worry or fear.

On the other hand, some men wouldn’t dare lift their hands in anger towards certain women who they know will not take it lying down. There is a saying which goes “Money don’t climb prickle Trees” – men who beat women usually know the ones they can safely beat up without the women fighting back. They will not risk beating certain women since they know they will suffer physically as a result.

This is why when men beat up their women it is often said that they “take advantage of the women”, while in truth it is not the women these men “take advantage of” but the situation. However much men enjoy beating up women, they know that in certain situations it would be unwise to do so…Come on guys we’re are better than this – lets love and respect our queens.

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