Sometimes, you read a story in the news and it hits on you on an absolutely visceral level. This is one of those times. Erica Moore, entered her fifteen year old son’s room and discovered him receiving oral sex from his 18 year old cousin. I can imagine that this was a great shock to her, especially if she didn’t know that he is gay but her reaction was absolutely horrific.
“My cousin at the time he was 18. My son he was 15 and I had walked in the room on [my cousin] giving oral sex to my son and I started whooping my son, and I’m the one who got in trouble as a result of me whooping him,” she said. “When I walked in I saw my son, it was just disgusting to me, the way he was looking and my cousin was looking, and my cousin immediately ran out the door. And I’m just like what the?!? You know, is you serious? So that was my reaction because it disgusted me.”
Moore admits that she struck her son with an electrical cord because
it’s a form of discipline she was taught, and because she doesn’t
believe in homosexuality. [source]
Even though she is facing legal consequences, Moore still does not understand what she did wrong. There is no doubt that this woman is a raging homophobe and it saddens me to know that this child will get no acceptance or support from the person who is supposed to love him unconditionally. He needs to know that his sexuality has no baring on whether he is a good person or a bad person. He needs to know that he is normal and that have sex with someone of the same sex is not sinful or wrong.
I will never understand how anyone can carry a child in their body, raise them, worry over them and then turn around and beat them bloody. There is nothing that he ever could have done to earn that treatment, let alone engage in a common sexual act. Later in the linked article, Moore goes on to claim that her reaction would have been the same, had she caught her daughter engaged in a sexual act with a man. Though she is clearly a homophobe, essentially, Moore is saying that her main issue was that her son was engaged in sex in her home. Honestly, I don’t buy that for one second.
I think the only truth that Moore spoke when she was talking about this incident is the following:
“I actually caught this going on in my house so how was I supposed to
react to it? I supposed to just let it go? No! We was taught to
discipline our kids and we whoop our kids,” she said.
Moore did what she did not only because she is a raging homophobe, but because for her, beating her child with an electrical cord is what constitutes discipline. Discipline means various things to people and yet whenever these conversations occur, those who advocate physical discipline like to pretend that there is a universal understanding. For many, discipline means grabbing the most handy item and beating their child senseless. They justify this by saying, just as Moore did, that this is how they were raised.
The sad truth is that violence against children has been absolutely normalized. This same act which would land an adult in jail, amounts to simple discipline when it comes to a child. Since Moore sees her actions as normal, I highly suspect that this is not the first time her son was beaten. It happens behind closed doors to defenseless children everyday and people turn a blind eye to it. In many cases, the child may have indeed done something which violates the rules of the family and will therefore feel ashamed and assume that this is what they deserved. This is especially true if physical discipline has been the only form of discipline continually used.
It takes strength to stop a cycle of abuse and it is absolutely impossible to do in an environment where parental rights are deemed inviolable and children are viewed as property instead of human. There’s always a reason to justify violence and what starts as a swat on the behind, can quickly escalate to beating a child with an electrical cord because someone believes that their status as a parent gives them this right in the name of discipline.
Every child needs some form of discipline but the problem is that we don’t have a universally understood definition of what constitutes discipline. This hold true across race and class. The emotional harm that even one slap creates, should be more than enough for us as a society to determine that any kind of physical discipline is wrong and yet we continually have apologists who try to talk about degrees. This of course helps them to separate themselves from who they believe the real abusers are. These people are more than willing to ignore every single scientific study to say that they were spanked and turned out fine. If you were hit in rage, then you are not fine and the entire notion that a person can calm down first and then hit someone is bullshit. When we are violent, our bodies react and release adrenaline. You cannot calmly hit someone; it’s scientifically impossible.
In this instance, Moore beat her son because she is a homophobe but her attitude suggests that there is a history of violence in her family. Instead of twisting and turning to try to justify parental rights, we need to act in the best interest of society and show absolutely zero tolerance for hitting a child. Children need to be taught that if this happens to them, no matter who the perpetrator is that it is wrong. They need to be encouraged to tell, even if it is their mother or father. If we cannot protect the vulnerable members of society, then who can we protect?