America and the roots of violence

April 10, 2013

I have just read three interesting facts that co-exist:

1. The United States has a homicide rate of 8.5 per 100,000 leading to its classification as the most violent of the industrialized countries (this number is three times the Canadian rate of 2.3 per 100 000, and about eight times the rate of Western European countries).

2. The United States has been called the most religious of the developed countries, with 83 percent of its residents claiming to belong to a religious denomination.

3. The United States has the highest rate of child abuse of any of the industrialized countries. A BBC investigation finds that the United States has the worst child-abuse record of all the industrialized nations. Every week, 66 children under 15 die from physical abuse or neglect in the developed nations, 27 of them in the U.S.

Certain religious denominations, often based in fundamentalist Christianity follow precepts commanding the spanking of children from very early ages, even infants.

Significant evidence indicates that the United States is particularly resistant in contrast with other industrialized countries to legally outlaw the hitting of one’s children, being one of the last hold outs on signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children, to this day having failed to ratify it.

31 countries have absolutely banned corporal punishment by parents by statute or court order. In the United States, no state has instituted such a ban.

The latest research shows that corporal punishment leads to more aggressive children who grow into violent adults, that it reduces children’s IQ’s, that it can cause trauma and permanent brain abnormalities, and that a long list of prominent organizations oppose corporal punishment against children (at home and school), including the American Public Health Association, the National PTA, the National Organization for Women (NOW), Society for Adolescent Medicine,the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), among others.

Please take a look at this 1993 quote from Ian Hassall, then New Zealand’s Commissioner for Children:

“Consider the injustice of hitting children. We hit in order to inflict pain. The law does not permit us to inflict pain on anyone other than our children. Floggings of prisoners and in the armed services, the beating of wives and servants are part of an unwanted brutal past. Our laws prohibit us from inflicting pain on animals. Why our children?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *