Mon | Jan 24, 2022

Letter of the Day | How did violence became a show of love?

Published:Thursday | October 21, 2021 | 12:05 AM


How much the 300 years of our enslavement in the penal institution known as the plantation has shaped our aptitude for the use of violence, is bound to make an interesting study. My father and my headmaster gave me my fair share of whipping. And, as we progress with time today, both would have found themselves in trouble with the current laws. Our commitment to the use of violence is so deeply embedded in our consciousness that many of us, even the victims, have come to glorify beatings as the best option for correcting misbehaviour in children.

Interestingly, under the law, flogging as punishment for offenders has been removed in Jamaica, with its slavery overtones and connection to our violent past fuelling the repealing debate at the time. Many of us are of the view that it was our parents’/teachers’ beatings which made us who we are today. This is what we have accepted, and in my opinion, it’s the Stockholm syndrome at work.

We, somehow, have endured beatings for so many centuries that we have developed positive feelings towards our abusers, who are often well-positioned as parents or educators. We have been conditioned to remain in love with persons who physically abuse us. A young girl whose father beats her as punishment is learning that love can be the companion of physical abuse. She may end up saying of her abusive partner, “Him love me, that is why him beat me.” Parents tell their children that “it’s for your own good why I am beating you”.

The quick fix of a few slaps, while in a rage is the punishment of choice for lazy parenting, in my view. My adult kids, all of whom have never experienced a beating, have at all times been highly respectful of their father. This respect is void of the fear of beatings from me, but rather, that I have punished them using other methods.

When children are loved, they have deep sense of guilt to not ‘let their parents down;’ that is the chief weapon for keeping children in line – love, not beatings. If they are to be punished, find something they want badly and deprive them of that thing. Love runs through this non-violent method, not physical abuse.

How did we get here to have become a society bred upon violence? Men beat women, a mother caught on camera beating her daughter with a machete three years ago, the police regularly beat citizens, criminals use senseless violence on their victims, the letting of human blood has recently entered the church – and the violent trend continues. Could it be that the widespread acceptance of beatings in the home is responsible for the pervasive use of violence in the society? Can the sociologists weigh in on this crisis?

Are grown adults, simply put, living what they learn when they invest so deeply in violence at all levels?