It was Christmas 2012.
Single mom, Cheryl Alexander, lived with her four children in a small house in Jacob’s Hill, Wallerfield blocked around with plywood and galvanise sheets.
The mother who was featured in a Facebook video beating her 12-year-old daughter with a belt while using obscene language says she does not regret her actions. Helen Bartlett has the support of two of her daughters, including the child who was beaten. The daughters have since defended Bartlett’s actions in another video that was also posted on Facebook yesterday.
In an interview on i95.5FM yesterday, Bartlett said she had no regrets over beating her daughter. She said the action was necessary considering her daughter’s behaviour before and after the posts she discovered of her on Facebook. “I would do it again. I rather shame her that way than she comes home as a pregnant teenager,” Bartlett said. “I stand firmly by my decision. I will go to jail for that. My daughter will be an example to society,” she added.
Bartlett and her daughter sprung into the public limelight this week after the video the mother posted of her beating of the child went viral. There was a huge public debate over Bartlett’s decision to beat the child and post the incident on the social media, with some saying this was no way to punish the child. This has drawn the attention of the police, who say the woman could be charge for abuse.
Yesterday, Bartlett said she was a single mother of four, three girls and a boy, adding she and the children’s father had broken up and she had been struggling with discipline problems with the child. Commenting on questions from the public regarding the girl’s father, she said: “I hear somebody ask where is the father. I am yet to receive a call from her father.”
She said she believed her daughter was acting out as her negative behaviour began around the time she had separated with her father, adding she had even sought counselling for the child. Bartlett said, however, she had the full support of her family members in the matter. The girl yesterday spoke out on the matter in a video she did with her elder sister. “I am very sorry for the shame I have brought to my family. I am positively sure it will never happen again,” the 12-year-old said.
Looking at the camera, the girl addressed her mother specifically, saying: “I know you love me dearly and I am sorry.” She asked other young girls to make their lives better after watching the video. The 12-year-old’s elder sister said the decision to post the video on the internet was a last resort. “We would take away the phone, it’s the same thing. She goes to school. She has to travel. Nothing works,” she said.
“My mom is very sorry for what happened with the video, with it going viral and everybody talking about it but she did do it because Facebook is where my sister would have had her fame,” she added. The elder sister spoke about the 12-year-old’s conversations with boys and pictures on Facebook in her underwear. “If she (Bartlet) felt this was the way to stop it, we should not judge her,” she said
“My mom is not a bad mother. She does not frequently curse us or abuse us like what people are saying. She loves us. This was love.” She asked people to stop sharing the video. “You guys are putting a lot of stress on our family,” she said.
Children Act Part 1
3. (1) If any person over the age of 16 years, who has the custody, charge, or care of any child or young person, wilfully assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandons, or exposes the child or young person, or causes or procures the child or young person to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned, or exposed, in a manner likely to cause the child or young person unnecessary suffering or injury to his health (including injury to or loss of sight, or hearing, or limb, or organ of the body, and any mental derangement) that person is liable—
(a) on conviction on indictment, to a fine of $10,000, or alternatively, or in default of payment of such fine, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment for two years; and
(b)on summary conviction, to a fine of $5,000, or alternatively, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment for six months.