Wed | Nov 14, 2018

Disturbing yet not surprising - Advocates react to physical abuse video

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Betty-Ann Blaine

The case of a video showing a 12-year-old girl being beaten with a machete by her mother in St Thomas, which has gone viral, has come as no surprise to Betty-Ann Blaine. The head of Hear the Children's Cry, however, expressed that she was deeply disturbed by it and called for stricter laws to hold parents more accountable.

She said now that the issue has been exposed, she is expecting that urgent action will be taken to intervene and assist the family.

"Doing our work, which we have been doing for so long, we know of cases and have heard of cases where children are beaten with all kinds of things. Things like electric cords, and this is not the first time we have heard of a child being beaten with a machete. It happens," Blaine explained.

"We also have to ask the question, where is the father of this child? That is a question we don't ask often enough. Are there extended family members living in the home? What has happened in terms of interventions? After these videos go viral, what is being done? That, in my mind, is the bigger issue."

Blaine also stressed the importance of persons caring more for each other.




"One of the concerns I have is, people live in yards and homes and witness these things and keep their mouths shut, and it's when it has gone viral or when, in some cases, the children are killed, you hear people say, 'Dem did know all along.' We want to say to parents, do not resort to these kinds of violence because it is a crime and she should face our courts," she charged.

Kaysia Kerr, head of the National Parenting Support Commission, shared similar sentiments, stating that she is even more convinced that corporal punishment does not work. She also extended an invitation to parents to reach out to the organisation should they need help.

"I am most disturbed. It does leave a sunken feeling in your gut, and so for many reasons my heart reaches out to the little girl, who was a victim of that kind of onslaught. I am also saddened because here is a family in need and requires help," she said.

"It doesn't work (corporal punishment); you are causing more harm than good. Here is a child who now has to deal with, not only whatever breach has been committed, but also the trauma of having been beaten that way, and also the trauma of having this kind of punishment going viral with her face being shown."