Beating children on the buttocks can lead to deviant sexual behaviour
Stabroek News
March 17, 2004

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Dear Editor,

In a letter captioned "Violence in schools is a reflection of the wider society" (SN March 14), Mr. Keith R. Williams contradicts himself when he writes that "it is equally reprehensible for a teacher to use violence against a student" and then goes on to praise the buttocks-beating of the so-called good old days of education. Well, I came across the following bit of information on the issue some time ago.

Beating on the Buttocks and

Sexual Development

Beating of the buttocks can stimulate immature sexual feelings in some children. They have no control over those feelings, nor do they understand what is happening to them. The tragic consequences for some of these children is that they form a connection between pain, humiliation and sexual arousal that endures for the rest of their lives. Even though they may marry, raise families, hold responsible positions in the community and show no signs of emotional disturbance, they may be secretly and shamefully tormented by a need which, in some cases, compels them to hire prostitutes whom they spank or from whom they receive spankings. The pornography industry does a thriving business catering to the needs of these unfortunate individuals.

Medical science has long recognized, and documented in great detail, the link between buttocks-beating in childhood and the later development of unnatural sexual behaviours. This should be reason enough never to beat a child.

Physical Danger of Hitting

the Buttocks

Located deep in the buttocks is the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. A severe blow to the buttocks, particularly with an instrument such as a piece of wood, could cause bleeding in the muscles that surround that nerve, possibly injuring it and causing impairment to the involved leg.

The very delicate tail bone at the base of the spine is also susceptible to injury when a child is hit there. And when children are required to bend over for beatings, their sex organs may be injured. Dislocation of the tail bone and bruising the sex organs as a result of violent punishments are frequently reported by hospital authorities around the world.

Some people in their attempt to justify battering children's buttocks, claim that God or nature intended that part of the anatomy for beating. That claim is nonsense. No part of the human body was made to be violated.

Physical Danger of Hitting

the Hands

The child's hand is particularly vulnerable because its ligaments, nerves, tendons and blood vessels are close to the skin which has no underlying protective tissue. Striking the hands of younger children is especially dangerous to the growth plates in the bones, which if damaged, can cause deformity or impaired function. Striking a child's hand can also cause fractures, dislocations and lead to premature osteoarthritis (Straus, Gelles & Steinmetz, 1980; Straus, Sugarman & Giles-Sims, 1997; Harding, 2002).

To Mr. Williams I say, violence has always been with us, from slavery, to indentureship, through two world wars, racial clashes, domestic violence, ethnic beatings, the school as an aggressor, the State as an aggressor and party to extrajudicial killings, freedom bandits and death squads. Violence is endemic. Violence breeds violence. And where does it all begin? In the so-called sanctity and safety of the home when a care-giver becomes an assailant. We erect bars to exclude the violence without. How would we handle the violence within? If it can be shown that the beating of women has some positive effects, should husbands continue to beat their wives? If it can be shown that the beating of children has some positive effects, should adults continue to beat children? Animal-owners can be charged for beating their animals. Does a child have less rights than an animal?

In 1891, Robert Green Ingersoll wrote : "When the children are young and weak, the parents who are strong beat the children in order that they may be affectionate. Now, when the children get strong and the parents are old and weak, ought not the children to beat them, so that they too may become kind and loving?" Hitting people is wrong. Children are people too.

Yours faithfully,

M. Xiu Quan-Balgobind-Hackett