Corporal Punishment : The Last Remaining Acceptable Violence

2808 words - 11 pages

Corporal punishment : The last remaining acceptable violence Suppose you are in line at a fast food restaurant, the person in front of you orders his food with the employee of the establishment. The cashier is new to the business and accidentally makes a mistake on the customers order. In response to the wrong order being placed in front of the person at the counter, he reaches over and hits the cashier knocking him down. What would the reaction of the other patrons in the restaurant be? There would be shock, surprise, the assailant would probably be restrained, the cashier would receive attention, the police would be called, and most likely, the assailant would be prosecuted for assault and battery. In contrast to this act, what would the reaction of the patrons in the restaurant be if the act were committed against a child by his or her parent? Suppose the situation similar to the above described happened where a mother and young son were standing in line in front of you. The child is whining for a particular item on the menu that he particularly likes, the mother getting annoyed by his constant badgering reaches out and smacks the child across the face to where the child falls on the floor crying. What would be the reaction then? For the most part the patrons would watch ambivalently as if nothing had happened at all or even smiled because of the "good discipline offered by the mother. The mother would not get reprimanded for this, and the child surely would not be comforted. It would have been like nothing happened at all that was wrong. Corporal punishment is defined as physical chastisement of an offender. At one extreme it includes the death penalty. The term usually refers to punishments like flogging, mutilation, and branding. Until c.1800, in many parts of the world, most crimes were punished thus, or by such practices as confinement in the pillory or stocks, which combined physical chastisement with the humiliation of an individual possible in a relatively small, cohesive society. Flogging was especially prevalent, being used also to keep order among the institutionalized insane and in schools and the armed forces (Col. Encyclopedia 2001). Corporal punishment comes in a few different forms, there is educator abuse (punishment by teachers and other educators), daycare or childcare abuse (abuse happening by child or daycare center workers), and then there is the most prevalent form of corporal punishment which is the punishment administered by parents. Throughout this paper we will discuss two out of the three or these different forms of corporal punishment and the controversy surrounding them. In Christian theology, the use of corporal punishment is historically related to concepts of original sin and the need to combat Satan by "beating the devil" out of children. This belief was, and still is, an important element of evangelical and fundamental Protestant belief. The concept of possession by some sort of...

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