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Of Love and Blood: For People Who Like To Watch Child Abuse Porn on Social Media

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Of Love and Blood: For People Who Like To Watch Child Abuse Porn on Social Media 2016-11-29T17:39:06+00:00

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“Is this discipline or abuse?”

By Stacey Patton | Originally Published at Facebook. April 28, 2016

That’s the question a lot of folks have been asking about the latest viral video of a sweaty hulking father who punished his son for walking out of class by lacing up a pair of boxing gloves and repeatedly punching him in the chest and head until his blood splattered against the wall. Meanwhile, other viewers are calling the beating “love” and responsible parenting.

“Is this discipline or abuse?”

How is that even a question after watching this video? How is it that people can look at a child’s busted bloodied face and not be horrified and compelled to take action?

How can somebody wonder if brutally assaulting a child, to the point where he has to clean his own blood off the wall and carpet, is an effective method of parental discipline?

How did we get to the point where so many people think this pornography of violence is a valuable parenting tool that can “save” a black child from the enduring legacies of overt structural racism, the streets, prison, or death?

How do you love someone by punching them in the face and making them bleed? Where is the love in expressing ego and rage onto a child’s body, and then filming it for millions of people to click, watch, like, and share?

“Is this discipline or abuse?”

When you can’t distinguish between love and violence you are in a very bad place. But this question is also about a larger collective pathology in black America. People ask that question because they want a legitimate reason to beat a child. They want to rationalize that beating a child will lead to good, that a negative will prevent a future negative.

Some folks ask that question because they enjoy beating kids because it is the only expression of power and control they have in their lives. And some people really want to beat the mother or father who beat them, but instead they displace that untreated trauma and pent up rage onto their own children.

“Is this discipline or abuse?”

At the individual level, that question is asked by people who are still grappling with the contradiction that somebody who was supposed to love and nurture them as a child actually hurt their body.

But that question also reflects the mindset of a people who feel that violence will always define their world. The violence is so etched into our genetic and cultural DNA that far too many black folks believe that since the world is a dangerous and racist place, we must then beat and degrade our children to get them ready for it.

Let’s keep it one hundred: Too many of us love our children the way white America loves us!

“Is this discipline or abuse?”

“Is this discipline or abuse?”
Since the beatings were always presented to us in the context of “love” and protection and good parenting, a lot of folks grow up to hold onto the adult justifications for the violence that was enacted against us.

When I hear people ask that question it says to me that there’s a huge disconnect in their brain. They have either suppressed or can’t accurately remember what it was really like to be a child on the receiving end of a belt, switch, extension cord, or a pair of hands. They can’t accurately recall the pain, the fear, the betrayal, the resentment, and the anger they felt as a child.

Since the beatings were always presented to us in the context of “love” and protection and good parenting, a lot of folks grow up to hold onto the adult justifications for the violence that was enacted against us. And then we staunchly defend the continuation of the beatings.

But let me tell you something, friends – I haven’t forgotten what it is like to be a child. I haven’t forgotten what it really felt like to get punched and slapped in the face by my adoptive mother to the point where everything in the room just stopped.

I can still see her pulling and gripping me by the back of my neck. She slapped me and slapped me and slapped me, again and again. I can still hear those full open hand slaps, like a crack of thunder in my ears. The pain was sharp and forceful, and electrical. My muffled cries of pain and surprise always went ignored.

Sometimes she punched me in my chest or under my chin and let me fall to the ground only to yank me up and do it again. She slapped me so hard that sometimes all I saw was a bright shade of white. I never felt love. All I saw was rage, hate, and disgust on her face.

And then came the blood . . .

As she slapped me, spurts of my blood splattered against my bedroom wall. Fresh bits of it formed little trails that looked like macabre rainbows on a white canvass. Sometimes the blood even reached the ceiling.

I bled from my nose to my mouth. The blood trailed to my ear canals. Sometimes only one nostril bled. Sometimes both. Sometimes the blood poured down my face, mingled with my hair, and matted it to my head. I bled all over the living room or kitchen floor before I could make it to the bathroom sink. When my nose started to bleed, I could taste it in the back of my throat.

I remember how my blood smelled. Sometimes like a jar of copper pennies. Sometimes kind of sweet. It tasted salty and slightly metallic. Sometimes it tasted like nothing, just thick saliva.

When she finished slapping me, I rushed to the bathroom where I bent over the sink and watched a continuous stream of blood pouring from my nose. Or sometimes I assumed the hugging position over the toilet and watched strands of blood bloop into the water. I can still see myself holding wads of toilet paper to my nose, as my reflection in the mirror in front of me showed my cheeks and eyes reddened and still swelling. My shirt was spotted with blood.

I kept packing my nostrils with tissue until each piece went from white to completely red. I had to hurry up and make the bleeding stop before she got mad again.

Sometimes she tried to help. “Hold your head back,” she growled.

I could feel the blood pouring backward down my throat as she held my sinuses so tight. I focused on trying not to swallow the pool gathering in my throat. Sometimes I choked and coughed up gobs of blood into the sink and that pissed her off even more.

“You brought this on yourself,” she said. “This hurts me as much as it hurts you.” I always wanted to tell her to stop hurting us both.

When my nose stopped bleeding, I rubbed my tongue against the front of my teeth to make them white again. My blood looked like rust as it clotted and dried on my clothes, the sink, the floor, the toilet, the walls, and underneath my fingernails.

“Now clean up this mess you made,” she said as she walked away.

A few months ago, nearly two decades after those beatings stopped because I ran away from home and ended up in foster care, I finally got my nose fixed. For years I had trouble with my sinuses, suffered from migraines, and sleep apnea. My ear, nose and throat specialist discovered that I had damaged cartilage and a deviated septum from all those years of being slapped in the face.

This is the kind of lasting damage that hitting a child can have, not to mention the emotional scars that get left behind. These days I’m breathing a lot better because I decided to fix the broken parts of myself instead of reflecting back on all that violence my adoptive mother dished out onto my body and calling it “love.”

Sounds to me like a lot more of us need a healing. This is especially true if you look at that video of a father pummeling his son until he bled, or got to the end of this piece, and still have to ask – “Is this discipline or abuse?”

Stacey Patton is an American journalist, writer, author, speaker, and college professor and commentator. Patton has written for such publications as The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News and The Root.

This piece was reprinted by EmpathyEducates with permission or license. We thank the Author, Stacey Patton for her kindness, more real and open reflection. We are grateful for her voice and the invitation she offers to engage in a genuine conversation. Oh were we ever to look at ourselves, how, and what we teach our children.