The picture that you can see above was posted in facebook some time ago. It shocked me and many others and of course a conversation started. While most people agreed that it was a cruel crime that had left those marks on the girl’s cheek and that physical punishment should be stopped around the world, there were also different voices that advocated physical punishment. The picture and posts were later removed but I had saved the text and the image because I had the plan to write a blog post about it.
I was not very surprised to see that the main of these voices was Indian. In India unfortunately domestic violence is still very common. In many families parents believe that they have to teach their children discipline, good behavior and manners by hitting them. I wrote before about the experiences that we have made with the children at our school. We fully refuse any kind of physical punishment but the families sometimes believe that it would be necessary. The parents come to us and ask us to beat their children if they are not attentive or learning well. Corporal punishment in Indian schools has led to many serious injuries and even cases in which children were disabled or died. It is not only in school, though, children get beaten at home, too!
One big reason and explanation given by many and also in the facebook conversation is that physical punishment is even recommended by religious scriptures. This is something that I will always condemn and which should not be an excuse to hit your child or also your wife. Yes, some scriptures even say that men need to hit their wives. I would like to burn every single scripture that states such a thing if that would help stopping physical abuse in homes. It doesn’t matter whether that is a Hindu scripture, a Muslim scripture or a scripture of any other religion. Whoever wrote that, was a man who enjoyed that women and children cannot resist and are physically weaker. Why would you not beat a grown-up man? Because he would hit you back! So you would also only hit your son as long as he is small. When he is twenty or thirty years old, you don’t hit him anymore. It is simply not right, you only hit because the other one is weaker than you!
There is however another problem with that: if you hit your children regularly in order to make them obey or behave, they will simply get used to the beating. Someday they just won’t care about it anymore and do what they want anyway. It does not help! When a child is naughty and the parents tell us to hit him in school because he won’t listen any other way, it actually proves that the beating does not help at all! You hit him for everything he does wrong but he still keeps on doing those things. So it did not help, he just accepted that he would get hit! And this is what he will do to those who are weaker than him, too!
I have seen and experienced physical punishment myself. Not in my home, but in my school. In our school the rule is that no teacher ever hits any child. We fired two teachers because they disregarded that rule and could not control their habit of hitting their students. We once even had to fire one Ashram employee who had beaten his wife in the staff quarters.
It happens in schools to children but it also happens at home, to children and also women. I have seen that in my childhood and teenage time in the homes of neighbours, friends and relatives. Sometimes we were just sitting in our home and we heard noises. The noise of hitting and a woman screaming or crying. It happened often and in some houses even regularly.
These actions happen behind closed doors, inside rooms where nobody can see what is going on. In public, the same men show themselves as very reputable people. They have a great image in society and only their wives and children know what this man takes out on them when nobody else is there.
There are two kinds of people who hit. Those who hit because they enjoy it and those who hit because they cannot control themselves and their emotions. Those who enjoy it have an itching in their fingers and they feel good and as though they have done something beneficial whenever they hit their children or wives. In this case the beating often becomes a regular habit and I would actually call these people mentally sick. Their family has to suffer from this. The other category are those who get very angry about one thing and start hitting but don’t even realize how cruel their behavior is. When they later see what they have done, they are often shocked themselves. They regret and if they learn to control themselves, they can stop it.
I want to request any parent to learn other ways for teaching discipline to their children and any man to learn that it is not right to beat your wife. It is simply not the right way. Take the vow to never beat and not even slap your child or wife.