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Tue Jan 24 01:27:19 CET 2006

Violence upon children

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People who beat children. If theres anything which makes me
madder than hell, its these stupid weak adults who hit their
own offspring. Theres never any real justification for it,
even if they think that its their prerogative. 

Imagine. You're a kid, and if you're lucky you live with
two parents. You're five years old. There is noone in the
world who ranks higher than your parents- they are best at
everything, and you want to be like them. You'll forgive them
anything, and everything- they cannot do anything wrong. What
would you think if they hit you? A slap on the hands. A slap
on the face. A fist in the stomach. With every hit, they are
destroying your self-esteem, but you don't know better, so you
think "I must have done something wrong" and burn in shame
that you did whatever you did to make him or her angry. Im
talking about the worst kind of betrayal. The betrayal of a
child's unconditional trust and love.

The thing is, there is never anything which can justify
violence towards children. And in Sweden, it is illegal. No
parent can say that its their right to hit their kids.

Why Im going on what seems like a rampage? Today, the four
of us went to the postoffice to send some parcels. While Anna
was at the counter, I was crouching next to Gentan and Ayumi,
who were reading some postal service magazine. Enter a father
and a son, the son was perhaps three years old, a cute little
boy. With a focus only three-year olds can have, he proceeded
directly to Ayumi and pushed her so she fell flat on her
bum. I was a little surprised, but nothing dangerous happened
so I was about to tell him not to push people since they could
get hurt. I was definitely not angry; like I said, I was just
a little surprised. But I never had the chance of telling him
since the father came rushing and picked up the kid, shook
him, then slapped the boys hand repeatedly, all the while
scolding him in a very loud voice.

The boy took it in stride. He cried out once or twice, and
when his father let go of his wrist, he walked up to Gentan
and tried to kick him in the shins. Again, the father ran up to
the kid, strapped him into the baby-walker and hit the child's
hand hard, over and over. 

I was in a state of shock. In retrorespect theres a bunch
of things I wish I did then and there, but I was so surprised
I just didn't, no, couldn't move. And there's
absolutely no excuse for that. Ever. So Im beating myself with
a virtual stick for not defending that child's rights. Dear
reader, if you're from another culture that approves of child
abuse, you'll never understand. In the same way that I will
never understand why you beat defenceless children.

I really can't justify my lack of action, but I think I can
explain it; Besides the fact that I was shocked that it
happened at all, there is this problem of
embarassment. Embarassment for the father, that he showed that
part of himself in public. The kind of embarassment which
spreads across the subway like wildfire making people just
look down and ignore that drunk/high person over there making
a fool of himself. 

The difference here is that if the public (in this case,
myself) does not do anything about it, noone will ever
help that little boy. Noone will tell him that what he is
experiencing is wrong.

So by doing nothing, I actually condoned the action. Damn
it.

Though I think that Gentan (and not to mention Ayumi) were
too young to understand what actually happened, I took him to
the side afterwards and told him that what that father did was
wrong, and that violence is never an alternative. But if my
actions don't support my words, what conclusions will he draw
from the experience?

Next time something similar happens, I certainly hope that
I don't go into shock. That I have the guts to stand up for
that future child's rights. That I do the right thing, for the
sake of my children.

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