Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the past several months, you’ve seen, heard, or read multiple news reports detailing incidents of child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. For the record, the discussion of child abuse will be specific to the practice of spanking and whether or not that rises to the level of child abuse.
Child Abuse and Spanking:
Football player, Adrian Peterson was charged with felony abuse for giving his four-year-old son a “whooping” with a switch (a tree branch stripped of its leaves–which he stuffed in the boy’s mouth). In his text to his wife, he admitted he “got him in the nuts once.” The details of the child’s injuries are horrific, and if Adrian Peterson or any other parent believes this is appropriate punishment, then they need to be taken to the woodshed with the same switch applied equally to their bare buttocks, thighs, and nuts.
Peterson’s indictment unleashed a public dialogue about whether spanking was appropriate punishment for a child. And let’s be clear, there is a difference between spanking and what Peterson did to his son.
Some arguments that were made in favor of spanking were built on the premise that “my parents spanked me when I was a child and I turned out all right.” In fact, Peterson says, “I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man.” Of course it did. He probably would never have been a successful football player if they hadn’t beaten him. He undoubtedly owes his career to a switch applied frequently to his bare behind.
His belief was echoed endlessly by pundits and columnists defending his right to discipline his child the way he was disciplined. I wonder how many of those who share the same childhood experience can look back on those beatings with fondness. You know, sitting around the Thanksgiving table with your family and reminiscing about the good old days, when mom or dad bloodied your backside with a switch. “Man, that was the best part of growing up. Those were the most righteous scabs and scars I ever got,” or “If I could go back and live parts of my childhood over, it would be those wonderful times when mom took that razor strop to my butt. It made me the man I am today.”
Yeah, right. Those are the childhood experiences that shaped them into productive citizens and philanthropic adults. Or not. Beating a child bloody does not a healthy adult make.
The current issue of sexual assault on college campuses is the topic of a heated debate, much of which places the blame squarely on the women for dressing provocatively, or getting drunk, or passing out. The men involved in these assaults are the innocent victims according to some pundits. It’s not their fault that they can’t control their sexual urges in the presence of an unconscious woman. You know. Boys will be boys. And what red-blooded young man can resist an unconscious woman who smells of alcohol and vomit?
No pundit was more outspoken (and wrong) on behalf of the “male victims” than George Will. He blamed liberalism, progressive colleges, and the Obama administration for endangering young men’s futures by promoting frivolous sexual assault charges. He dedicated a column in the Washington Post to his “wisdom” on the subject.
After his column generated a backlash, Think Progress summarized an interview in which he tried to defend his position:
According to Will, colleges are lowering the standard of proof for sexual assault allegations, and he’s worried that ruin the lives of young men. “What’s going to result is a lot of young men and young women in this sea of hormones and alcohol that gets into so much trouble on campus, and you’re going to have charges of sexual assault. And you’re going to have young men disciplined, their lives often permanently and seriously blighted by this — they won’t get into medical school, they won’t get into law school, and all of this,” Will said in the interview.
CNN commentator, Mel Robbins, took Will to the virtual woodshed, but she didn’t use a switch or a razor strop on him, she used an intellect greater than his in her response to him. Among other things, she said:
I’d no more want to have a conversation with George Will about sexual assault on college campuses than I wish to discuss racism with Donald Sterling. Both men are shockingly out of touch with reality. The fact is, George Will is so wrong.
The analysis and rebuttal that follow are so powerful, George Will’s argument falls flat on its face. Perhaps a formal debate between Robbins and Will would demonstrate who comes out ahead. I can assure you it won’t be George Will.
See this public service announcement called, A 25 Second Guide On How To Handle A Drunk, Passed Out Girl On Your Couch. It’s all about respect.
If boys will be boys, then men must be men and teach their boys how to control their basest urges and quit blaming women for their failures.
I will address domestic violence in Part 3 of the post, coming soon.
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