Wednesday, 23 March 2011

another type of bullying

i'm just going to link to other people's writing on the case where a jury acquitted who had admitted tying his son to his wrist, shaving his hair off and washing his mouth with soap:

"It is probably the worst thing I have ever done to my child, but I grabbed my tie that I wear for church and I tied his wrist to my wrist beside my bed so he couldn't take off and go and kill himself," the father told the Sunday Star-Times. "Then he did manage to loosen it, so I did tie it around his neck for only about 30 seconds. I admitted to those things in court, but given the circumstances and what I was trying to achieve – trying to stop him killing himself – I was found not guilty."

here is stef, who doesn't think this kind of parenting is typical.

and neither does the queen of thorns (and no, i won't give her a dismissive introduction so that you can take her less seriously).

i don't have much more to add. that we live in a society where a jury can acquit a person on this kind of behaviour is indeed a sad thing. i don't understand how putting a tie around your child's throat in attempt to stop him killing himself is a productive exercise. and the lead juror should be "embarassed to be a new zealander", but not for the reasons she thinks.

seriously, if she doesn't think this was a case that needed to be answered, i don't know what is.


Psycho Milt said...

It's not typical, no - but then the child's behaviour doesn't sound typical either. In this case, the jury, unlike the Police, showed a sensible unwillingness to participate in someone else's acrimonious custody dispute. Good for them.

stargazer said...

as you say, it's not typical and that was the point of the 2 links: mr mcroskie is claiming it is and that this acquittal somehow proves how evil the new s59 is.

given the nature of the allegations and what the parent himself has admitted to, i think there was a case to answer. an acrimonious custody dispute does not preclude the existenceo f abuse. in fact, many abusive relationships result in acrimonius disputes. so i can't see why the nature of the custody battle should have any impact on the process of dealing with potential abuse.

Psycho Milt said...

So, McCroskie's an ass - we all knew that already. But the views expressed in the posts you linked to were actually no more reasonable than his. The question isn't whether this was typical parenting, it's whether this was typical of parents in the desperate state these were in. McCroskie's actually correct that it's stupid to charge people for stuff like this - it's stressful, time-consuming and expensive, bad for the children and the bottom line is that juries won't convict.

an acrimonious custody dispute does not preclude the existenceo f abuse.

Indeed not, but juries have to be sure beyond reasonable doubt to convict - which make the circumstances of the complaint a matter for consideration.

stargazer said...

but what if it was true? you're only able to make this judgement now that the case has been completed (and i'm not saying that i agree with that judgement yet). also, is it really typical of parents in this situation? do parents in this kind of situation regularly wash their kids mouths with soap? you haven't provided any evidence of that assertion. there is the possibility that the parenting style of the parents may have been a factor in creating this "desperate statye"

from what i've read, the police tend to be very reluctant to bring cases of abuse rather than the other way around. it's not like ther have been a whole heap of cases around this. and we are also still dealing with a clututre that tends to make excuses for abuse if the abuser is the "right" demographic.

the circumstances of complaint may be a matter of consideration and they may not. it depends on the individual case, and it's certainly not any kind of reason to dismiss one, which your earlier comment seemed to imply.

Psycho Milt said...

do parents in this kind of situation regularly wash their kids mouths with soap?

It doesn't really matter whether they do or not. The law isn't there to punish people for behaviour that's merely untypical or not what someone else considers best practice. What's in the mind of a juror in a case like this is whether or not they're willing to saddle fellow parents with a criminal record for having done it. In this case, the jury wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it myself, and I suspect that is a lot more typical than soaping a kid's mouth for swearing (which one of my colleagues told me she did once - I wouldn't convict her either).

Anonymous said...

Yes, if we want a diverse society we have to apply a test that's better than " is it really typical of parents in this situation?"

As a Jewish parent I often punish my kids by having them read verses of the Talmud. Obviously most parents wouldn't do this because most parents aren't Jewish. This doesn't mean it's wrong!

Anonymous said...

Sounds typical to me.
Doesn't make it right. Though sometimes I'm inclined to think 'no big deal' about stuff like this because it didn't seem like a big deal when it was normal.

I think two of my siblings had their mouths washed out with soap. The other two might have figured out not to get caught swearing. One of my siblings was leashed every time we went to town to stop him running away... don't remember till how old, but quite old or I wouldn't remember. Remember him wriggling out of his coat when he was eight and I was trying to keep hold of him, and disappearing into a crowd.
Long time ago, different culture. Doesn't mean it mightn't be close to normal today in NZ, especially among parents who have experienced this sort of parenting.