By Virgina Kruta
I laughed out loud as I sat down to write this. Not because I find corporal punishment amusing, or that recent allegations of physical abuse against prominent NFL players should be taken lightly. Rather because ISIS is beheading American journalists, our President is drawing dotted red lines between rounds of golf, the polar ice caps are shrinking growing, and we have been reduced to a national conversation about spanking.
That in itself would be enough. The fact that America needed to hear just one more blogger point out that there is, in fact, a difference between spanking a child and beating a child says quite a bit about where we are as a culture. But of course it didn’t stop there.
CNN’s Don Lemon made the now obligatory connection between slave culture and corporal punishment, referencing slaves who chose to spank their own children to keep them in line and prevent their being beaten in a much more cruel fashion by the slave-owners. The concept was that a spanking delivered by a loving parent would be an act of discipline and therefore less painful than the angry blows of a slave-owner who might not care if his victim lived or died.
The fact that the Proverbs 13:24, which directs us to, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” predates the slave trade by a good twenty centuries is conveniently ignored.
As if that weren’t enough, Slate.com had to get involved as well…
When author Jillian Keenan prefaced her article, “Spanking is Great for Sex: Which is Why it is Grotesque for Parenting,” with the comment, “my sexual identity was called somewhat pedophilic…” I knew I might regret clicking the link. But I did it anyway, so that you won’t have to.
The upshot of her assessment is that some people derive sexual pleasure from being spanked. Because some people derive sexual pleasure from being spanked, we must assume that it is at least possible that children derive sexual pleasure from being spanked. Therefore spanking children could be considered just as sexual an act as two consenting adults engaging in dominant/submissive role play.
While I hate to even spend time on her argument, I will say this: I am a parent who spanks. But when I say that I “spank,” I don’t mean that I send the kids out for a switch and strike a bared posterior. I mean that if my fifteen-month-old reaches for the stove top, I smack the back of her hand. If a child makes a break for the street, I make contact with any body part I can reach.
Keenan’s argument that spanking is a sex act all but depends on a situation in which the body part being struck is always the buttocks. And the truth is that many parents who choose to spank do so in the manner I have described instead.
But the reality is this: in America today, if you have to ask whether spanking is abuse, a sex act, or a legitimate form of discipline, I can save you some time: you’re doing it wrong.
Virgina Kruta is a small business owner, veteran, blogger, and holds a BS in History and Political Science.