61 year old Joyce Y. Beddell decided that the appropriate action after finding her granddaughter in bed with another girl, was to beat the poor child with a cane until it broke. Not satisfied with the pain and humiliation that she inflicted, she then proceeded to walk her granddaughter to her lovers house so that her parents could be informed that the pair were having sex. Apparently that was still not enough to quench her rage as when the pair returned home she began beating the child with a belt. The police were called to the house on charges of child abuse and the grand daughter received medical treatment for injuries. When questioned Beddell responded, “that she had done nothing wrong and said she should have been allowed to discipline her granddaughter as she saw fit.”
This incident enrages me for two reasons. One, corporal punishment has no place in the life of a child. It does not teach them to respect you, or that their actions were wrong, it inspires hatred and leads to feelings of depression and low self esteem. Two, this incident was clearly motivated by the fact that the girl was engaging in sex with another girl. You cannot control the sexuality of another, nor do you have a right to discipline in this way an activity that is a natural desire of ALL human beings.
Reading this story enraged me, and I was not even the one subjected to the beating. Shame on Bedell to treat another human being that way, much less one that is related by blood. I cannot help but wonder if she would have attempted to abuse a grandson in this manner? Though I do not know what was in her mind, I cannot help but think about the way that female sexuality is constructed by society. We are to be pure until wed and falling short of that we are disciplined mercilessly. This differential in regards to sexuality is not only sexist it has been used as a legitimate basis to perform violence on girls and women. When we as women assert these patriarchal values upon ourselves, and our children we are internalizing the worst kind of hate. Colluders act on behalf of patriarchy, not women that truly value being women.
Some people are unable to see the horror of this womans actions. In reading posts on this story I came across some blog responses that clearly victim blame. There seems to be some consensus around the idea that because the sexual activity took place inside Biddell’s home that the child was disrespecting her and brought the beating upon herself. I offer some blog responses from The happy nappy head.
Anonymous: “She deserved to get beat till the white meat show!! She’s lucky somebody called the cops cause granny would have kept beating that azz every time she looked at her! I have 4 kids and I will beat their azz if they ever disrespect my house like that!”
prodigy-maestro: “I mean… it is your grandmother’s house, whether it was a male or a female, that’s disrespect in my eyes”
marci: “you do not have sex in your grandmother’s house…it’s all wrong.. i don’t care who or what it is with…plain wrong…”
From these responses you would believe that the girl in question had committed a capitol crime in her grandmothers home, rather than express a legitimate part of herself. It is just sex, two bodies coming together for love in some cases, and sharing pleasure in all cases. In a world of violence, where people are tortured, murdered and raped how can we possibly look upon sex as an act that is so disturbing it deserves this kind of punishment? This is beyond a skewing of values. I cannot speak for anyone else but when her day in court comes, I hope that she will be granted just as much leniency as she chose to offer her vulnerable granddaughter.