Tuesday, January 16, 2018

No excuse for shovel-beating shocker

 Precedents of indifference and stupidity are being set with this latest shovel-swinging child-abuse video, a video that many are brushing off as nothing more than normal child disciplining.

So if tomorrow we witness members of the public sharing blows on others, it may be wrong to interpret such attacks as assault. As the indifference and stupidity grow, cutlass attacks and shooting with intent to murder may be misconstrued as nothing but horseplay. So civility of society corrodes.

Do children have constitutional rights? Is that a fair question? Perhaps children are subhumans. Adults vilify children as a reason for their social and financial troubles. Some abort their children, believing they are aborting future trouble. Most adults don’t reflect to realise many of them were “mistakes” but their mothers decided not to abort. In many households, pets are treated with more patience and respect than children are. 

People are fined or sent to jail for caging exotic animals. They are fined for abusing domestic animals. But parents who abuse their children are spared. Their defence is their attack on their children was to instil discipline. 

So much for disciplining. The nation is awash with dishonest, indifferent, crass citizens. Under the Constitution, an adult would be prosecuted for hitting another adult. Where is the constitutional provision which protects children from nutcase parents who use their children as piñatas to unleash pent-up rage? 

Children aren’t encouraged to prosecute their abusive parents lest they lose their caregiver. Beating a child with a shovel is assault no different than if an adult struck another adult with a shovel. To talk about discipline is disingenuous. A shovel can’t be an instrument of correction. 

Sadly, child abuse can’t be curbed when 90 per cent of Trinidad’s adults may have been similarly abused as youths and now live in denial, like rape victims, thinking the attack was their fault. They live with psychological scars. They bury the memories of their attacks at the hands of their enraged parents under substance abuse, sexual abuse, as workaholics, under pretentious laughter about the injury inflicted upon them. 

I recall a case of a UK boy, Shawn Russ, who at age 12 divorced his violent, alcoholic parents when society would not help. 

Unfortunately, some Trinidadians are unrepentant political sadists. They are willing to use the shovel-beating video as a political football. Leaving the child in the care of their brutal parent because a video allegedly showing a minister was not used to dismiss the minister for alleged self-harm. The alleged minister wasn’t beating a child with a shovel.

The parent doesn’t need to admit wrongdoing. The victim ought to save himself by telling all. Fate has a way of rescuing people via ill intentions. Recording and uploading the shovel-beating video was ill-founded. But if it was never recorded or uploaded, alerting the world to what that parent was doing to her child, what would be the status of the child in terms of rescue? Based on the violence in the video, the boy’s life is in danger. The politico-centrics who are more concerned with power than people are dismissing his needs for their political advantage.

Sarah Parks

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