‘Spank­ing per­pet­u­ates vi­o­lence’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NTANDO MAKHUBU

DRUG abuse, al­co­holism, dys­func­tional be­hav­iour and bul­ly­ing have been blamed on corporal pun­ish­ment in the home, and yes­ter­day stake­hold­ers agreed that it was an evil that needed to be rooted out.

Par­tic­i­pants in a di­a­logue on the pro­hi­bi­tion of corporal pun­ish­ment in the home yes­ter­day agreed that corporal pun­ish­ment per­pet­u­ated the cy­cle of vi­o­lence.

They said it vi­o­lated their rights as equal hu­man be­ings, and that it ul­ti­mately cre­ated delin­quency in ado­les­cents, and ag­gres­sion in adults.

“Stud­ies have shown that harsh dis­ci­pline like spank­ing is as­so­ci­ated with de­pres­sion in adult­hood, and an in­crease in con­don­ing vi­o­lent be­hav­iour,” said Pa­trick Bur­ton, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Cen­tre for Jus­tice and Crime Preven­tion.

Dur­ing a dis­cus­sion hosted by the Hu­man Sciences Re­search Coun­cil, he said corporal pun­ish­ment of chil­dren in the home re­duces “moral reg­u­la­tion and re­duces em­pa­thy”.

Chil­dren who have been spanked at home were twice as likely to use drugs, and have a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude to­wards as­sault, re­venge and us­ing force to take goods.

The di­a­logue de­fined corpo- ral pun­ish­ment as any pun­ish­ment in which phys­i­cal force was used with the in­ten­tion of caus­ing some de­gree of pain or dis­com­fort.

Chantal Kis­soon, from the South African Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion, said so­ci­ety had the re­spon­si­bil­ity to set un­equiv­o­cal stan­dards on the rights of the child, and that they were non- ne­go­tiable. Chil­dren, she said, were in­her­ent rights hold­ers, and had to be treated as such.

Karabo Ngidi ar­gued that in­tro­duc­ing new laws was not enough and that the com­mu­nity had to be roped in if a change in re­spect of chil­dren’s rights was to be re­alised.

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