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Licks, spreading like fire

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Bit Depth
One belt to rule them all? Photo: Mark Lyndersay

By now, there’s unlikely to be a single person in T&T who is on Facebook who has not had that video of a 12-year-old child pop up in their newsfeed.


That’s just the way that Facebook’s viral algorithms work.


It also means that nearly everyone in this country who’s on the social media service, and that’s almost everyone who is connected to the Internet locally, has had an opportunity to play the clip.


I have.


Here are some things that I am clear about.


I am not that child. I am not that child’s mother. I am completely unaware of the circumstances of their lives beyond what is visible and audible in the video clip and what the child and her sister revealed in a subsequent video in which they sought to offer more clarity to the situation.


In my life, however, I have twice been called on to be the caregiver for the child of other parents. I have brought to this challenge my own experiences as a young person and the things I have learned from growing up.


So let us be clear. I was hit as a child. I clearly remember my last licking, as such punishment interludes were called. I was in my mid-teens, and my wrists were bound. My mother, my only parent, beat me until she was sweating and winded.


I looked up when she seemed to be done and asked, “Are you finished?”


“That’s it,” came the response. “No more strap for you.”


My punishment the next time I ran off the rails was far worse.