Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 23rd 2014 Contents A5
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A video gone viral of a mother
beating her 12-year-old daughter,
which was posted on Facebook,
was yesterday described as not
being the first of its kind.
However, the mother is now fac-
ing varying forms of public criticism
for the punishment she meted out
to her child.
"I have seen other parents do
something similar about a year ago,"
said behavioural therapist Wendell
de Leon, who is worried it may
become a trend in T&T.
He is not in support of corporal
punishment of that nature.
"People are seeking to humiliate
others in the public domain rather
than in the privacy of their homes.
They are using the social network
as a medium of punishment."
The six-minute video shows the
mother administering some 63 lash-
es to her daughter with a belt on
mostly her arms and back while
scolding her about trying to send
out an indecent picture of herself
on the Internet. The words of the
mother are not all completely clear,
however, and some web viewers
thought the girl was being punished
for sending her underwear to a male
"This is a nice show," the mother
says in one segment of the video,
looking into the web camera set up
in the kitchen.
She said the video was to show
people her daughter was not a big
woman, and that she (the mother)
was the big woman.
She pauses occasionally in the
video to call out to mostly unseen
family members for certain infor-
In one instance, she wants to
know how the picture would have
been sent and what her daughter
posted on her Facebook page.
"I don t know about these things,"
the mother is heard telling her other
The voice replied that the girl,
who had been sent to school, said
she actually went to the mall that
"What you going to school for?"
the mother shouted, throwing more
belts on the girl.
"For book," the sobbing daughter
replied, while trying to dodge the
major impact of several of the blows.
The mother wanted information
about a singer the daughter listens
"What is the boy name? Justin?"
When she found out it was US
singer/songwriter Justin Timberlake,
she puts a fresh beating on her
There is no information on when
and from where the video was post-
ed, who did it and the names of the
mother and daughter.
But up to yesterday, there were
636 shares and 122 comments. There
were mixed comments, some
describing it as abuse and others
saying the girl "looked for that".
Several people the T&T Guardian
spoke to had similar responses.
Asked if he thought it was abuse,
de Leon said the aim of punishment
for wrongdoing should be to change
Corporal punishment at a par-
ticular point in a child s life does
not effectively promote behaviour
change, he said.
This "point" would be between
the ages of 11 and 13 and beating
someone around this age can only
foster resentment, defiance and fear,
De Leon, also the president of the
National Institute for Promoting
Responsible Fathers, said inflicting
corporal on someone, and highlight-
ing it on Facebook can only cause
embarrassment and humiliation. He
said "deeper issues" may have
caused the 12-year old to want to
advertise herself in that manner on
"She may be seeking some kind
of attention she is not getting."
Single dad of two young sons,
Dennis Allen, who hosts the tele-
vision show On the Record!" for WI
Sports, had a different take on the
"I can t say whether the child is
being abused. It is a six-minute
video of one isolated incident."
Allen said he also found the licks
He added, "As a parent, I wonder
what message she is trying to get
across to her child but I don t think
public shaming is the most effective
way to do this.
"We don t know what went on
before the beating. I don t know if
the mother had made other attempts
to get the message across.
"But things had reached the stage
where the child had to get a public
Allen said he saw a Texas parent
shooting his daughter s laptop and
another rolling his car over his child s
Ipad in other instances of parents
reacting to children abusing social
The Ministry of Gender, Youth
and Child Development said yes-
terday it is concerned about the
beating of the 12-year girl by her
"The Ministry of Gender, Youth
and Child Development has noted
with concern the viral video of a
mother beating her young daughter
for allegedly posting inappropriate
photos of herself on the popular
social media site Facebook," a release
from the ministry said.
"The ministry wishes to advise
parents there are different forms of
discipline which should be consid-
ered when dealing with children.
"The ministry strongly advocates
the use of non-physical forms of
discipline. Physical forms of disci-
pline can lead to harm and unin-
tended consequences, including seri-
ous injury, poor mental health or
The release said the ministry also
recognises that during adolescent
years, many children face challenges
which may lead to inappropriate
behaviour such as the posting of
unsuitable images on social media.
"This may be a sign of deeper
issues which need to be addressed.
Parents are also encouraged to mon-
itor their children s use of social
media and other information tech-
nologies, especially as these relate
to the posting of inappropriate pho-
tographs and videos. This can have
serious consequences for the child s
reputation and character."
The ministry, through its National
Family Services, provides free guid-
ance and counselling services to
members of the public on a 24-hour
basis, seven days a week, to those
needing help in dealing with life s
Those wishing to utilise the serv-
ices offered can call 627-1163 ext
2005; 2032; 2053 or 2046.
Mom's Facebook licking of child goes viral
Debate starts over
In these screen grabs of the
Facebook video which has gone
viral, the 12-year-old girl tries to
take evasive action as her mother
delivers corporal punishment with
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