The National Department of Social Development in South Africa has been receiving submissions on a discussion paper about the issue of corporal punishment in the home. The paper included several differing opinions ranging from support for the complete banning of corporal punishment, to the argument that corporal punishment can be accepted if it is applied at the right age, and ‘with love and concern’.
The Working Group on Positive Discipline made a very useful and broad submission which Sonke endorsed. In addition, Sonke developed an extra submission that highlights various issues related to corporal punishment especially from the perspective of MenCare. It reflected among a few other points that men who use violence are likely to have witnessed violence as children.
In accordance with the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child’s position, as set out in the discussion document (p2), Sonke equates corporal punishment with violence. In the International Men and Gender Equality Survey, a key finding was that men who use violence had likely witnessed violence as children. In other words, using corporal punishment in the home teaches children that violence is a legitimate way to solve problems. When boys witness this violence, they are more likely to use violence as men later in life.