It is extremely intrusive and aggressive, this thumping on another person’s buttocks, or hand, face, or anywhere else. It is particularly intimidating when the person is bigger than you and in a position of power (and particularly dangerous when they are not your biological parent).
I am especially uncomfortable with bottom-smacking. Bottoms are personal. But so is the rest of a kid. A child’s body is theirs: not mine, not yours, not ours.
Really, there is already enough of a sense of entitlement to other people’s bodies in this country. To see another privileged white man speaking up about his right to do what he wants to other people is so tiring.
Every time I think I have a nice country, Colin Craig. Ugh.
He’s ruining everything for everybody now, and he’s ruining everything for everybody later. These little kids he wants us to hit are future adults, and he desperately wants them to understand that when you don’t like something someone does, you attack them.
Smacking kids (or, as I like to call them, humans) has actually been illegal in NZ as long as we have all been alive. But evidently, this man thinks this is the most important thing our country can do: repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which in 2007 finally meant that people accused of physically abusing their children couldn’t use reasonable force as a defence.
To further his political career, Colin Craig will do almost anything. I think we all understand that.
But to promote the assault of children? Out loud? In this country? What is he thinking? Is the man insane?
Why is the right to thump others so important to so many vocal New Zealanders like him? With our violence statistics, and the level of male violence in our homes, more hitting isn’t ever going to be the answer – to any question.
If I can run a class of 30 kids without hacking at them with my hands, surely Colin Craig and his mates can manage their 2 or 3 or 6 with a little more kindness, There are many more options these days than our mothers and fathers had; more support, more help, more awareness. More breaking of the cycle.
And those who smack even now aren’t really being demonised. Nobody has been prosecuted for a smack. 7 out of the 8 people prosecuted for assaulting their children so far actually hit them in the head, which is simply too close to potential manslaughter – or at least brain injury – for comfort.
Since 2007 we have had around 600 investigations, with just those 8 prosecutions resulting from our entire population of 4,500,000 people. This law is working. Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence that the illegality of hitting kids has a direct correlation with any rise in crime statistics. To suggest that there is any relationship at all is deliberate wool-pulling.
It became clear to me while teaching that there was, however, a relationship between poverty and whacking your kids about. Really. I never saw any child get hit in the wealthy schools I worked in. When I was in extremely low decile schools, though, if you removed every kid you saw get the bash from a parent, there would be very few left at school. I saw the same rage in them post-assault that I felt in myself when I was smacked at their age, and there is no way that that kind of overwhelming emotion is healthy in already-distressed or neglected children.
Reading comments on online articles about this issue in New Zealand is interesting, to say the least. There are an awful lot of people in the “my mum stopped hitting me when I angrily hit her back one day” camp, but just as many in the “I was smacked and it did me no harm” camp.
I don’t believe most of them. I look at their aggressive responses to debate and think hoooo, boy, you sure are angry.
If you were smacked, and you’re really alright, that’s fine.
Being smacked isn’t the end of the world.
But I’d rather be in the other world; the one where prominent New Zealanders don’t waste their spotlight time begging for the right to assault their children legally again.
We already have enough people wrecking everything for everybody.