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Children's Task Force member: Don't Demonise Mom

By Sue-Ann Wayow sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

THE mother seen in a Facebook video beating her 12-year-old
daughter with a belt was trying to make a point to the child and
should not be demonised for doing so.

This is according to Children's Task Force member Rhondall Feeles
who said his opinion varied from other Task Force members.
Feeles told the Express negative comments by members of the public would encourage the child to think she was abused and not disciplined.

The six minute video of the mother has gone viral on Facebook with more than 16,000 shares up to late yesterday evening. In the video, the mother said she beat her daughter because she had posted
indecent photos of herself on the same site.

Minister of State in Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development Raziah Ahmed has criticised the posting of the video and the actions demonstrated. However, Many Express bloggers have shown support for the woman while some disagreed.

Feeles said: "I am a member of a task force ready to arrest mothers who do not make reports of pregnancy and sexual acts mandatory, but they are ready to crucify a mother who takes a step to discipline her child and prevent her from engaging in the same acts."

"We have sent a very dangerous message to the young children in society who are monitoring how this mother is being demonised," he said.

He said the lack of proper discipline by parents and teachers was the cause of many problems in the country's society.

"The mother as a parent must set some law and order. If we keep letting the rights of the child supersede the rights of the parent, the only thing we will have them to do, as we are seeing now, is dragging these children before the courts and filling up the homes, filling up YTC (Youth Training Centre) where they will be disciplined possibly in the very same way or even a harsher measure when they get to these places," Feeles said.

He said: "The mother trying to discipline the child now has become the problem instead of what the child really has done."
Feeles said: "The same place (on-line) where everybody could see her getting licks, that was the same place she was before posting half nude pictures. The mother seems to say, if you can post these pictures and not be ashamed, don't be ashamed if I am disciplining you for the very same people. Let me show them that you are a little girl and you need to be corrected. I wouldn't say that I totally agree but I wouldn't say I disagree either."

However, he did not agree with the mother using obscene language.
Feeles said he was grateful for the beatings he received as a child and he hoped leaders would not stray from the main problem which was "a 12-year-old girl brave and courageous enough to be posting half naked pictures on Facebook".
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