Corporal punishment should be outlawed


By Rena Galanis

Corporal punishment should be outlawed and studies which show a correlation between child abuse and the development of mental disorders in adulthood, should not be ignored.

Parenting can bring overwhelming joy as well as – at times -overwhelming frustration.

You try to be the best parent you can be while juggling jobs, finances, multiple children with varying developmental needs, single parenting, temper tantrums, schoolwork, all in tandem with the day-to-day requirements of  keeping a household together.

And there are times when you get to the end of your fuse. But are you an abusive parent?

A recent study in Canada shows one in three Canadians have experienced some form of child abuse and that there is a resulting “robust” correlation with disorders such as drug/alcohol dependence, OCD, anxiety and depression in adulthood, to name a few.

It uses a benchmark of over three episodes of hitting a child to define physical abuse. Specifically, physical abuse was defined using one or more of the following three criteria:

1) being slapped on the face, head or ears, or hit or spanked with something hard three or more times.

2) being pushed, grabbed or shoved, or having something thrown at the respondent to hurt them three or more times.

3) being kicked, bit, punched, choked, burned or physically
attacked one or more times.

The nation-wide study was conducted using data from 2012 with over 23,000 respondents over the age of 18. The participants were asked if they had experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse (as witnesses of abuse between adults) under the age of 16.

Although the study updates research on the long-term effects of child abuse, it isn’t exactly news. Organizations and front-line workers working with children and adults who have experienced violence in childhood have known this for years.

Here in Canada, Section 43 of the Criminal Code makes corporal punishment of our children (between the ages of two and 12) legal and allows a special defence to assault, which justifies corporal punishment of children by parents, substitute parents, and teachers, if the force used is “reasonable” and for the “child’s correction.”

The words “reasonable under the circumstances” in s. 43 mean that the force must be “transitory and trifling, must not harm or degrade the child, and must not be based on the gravity of the wrongdoing.”

Section 43 was challenged in 2003 by groups advocating to abolish the law and for the full implementation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child. Canada ratified it in 1991 and article 19 in the Convention calls for the “protection of children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse.”

The decision to uphold Section 43 in 2004 by the Supreme Court of Canada came after much debate and in the face of numerous studies, which show that corporal punishment is ineffective for long-term teaching or as a disciplinary tool and that physical punishment can escalate to abuse. (Over 100 organizations and people advocated for to repeal s.43.)

It’s a controversial issue because some parents who give a rare slap on the behind or wrap on a hand to avoid a hot stove, fear they will be labelled abusers. Canadian (and Blogher) writer, Jen Pellegrini, voices that stance here via Huffington Post.

She may have a point and the fact is, no parent likes to be told they aren’t doing a good job with the threat of a Big Brother-type government watchdogging their every move. Even the most conscientious parent can have bad days – days they wish they could do over with more patience.

But Canadian law has a number of safeguards in place to prevent charges for “minor slaps and spankings,” as well as reasonable, required restraint (in order to secure a child in a car seat, for example.)

Most parents aim to be more than a “good enough” caregiver with the hope that their children will thrive and lead healthy lives built on a foundation of loving care.

Canadian law provides a legal shield against domestic abuse and all adults a right to physical security. Between the ages of two and 12, our children do not enjoy this privilege.

Abolishing the law that allows for reasonable physical restraint or correction of a child by parents, caregivers and teachers will probably not eradicate child abuse.

It will, however, make clear our value that our children have the right to be treated with the same dignity and respect and with the full force of the law which all adult members of our society expect.

Study after study showing the far-reaching effects of physical punishment can’t be ignored. When should a child’s human rights take effect? On day one.

Let’s not roll the dice on the futures of our children.






Top 15 unforgettable U.S. style icons


By Rena Galanis

The USA is a young country and like most toddlers and teenagers, it can be rebellious, self-centred, arrogant and challenging of the status quo: All the ingredients for rip-roaring style and it has it in spades.

The land of plenty has given us the most popular item of clothing in recent history – jeans, as well as its constant companion, the t-shirt.

Levis jeans, the perennial youth favourite for over 140 years.

When Levi Strauss put out the now famous closet staple in 1873, it was designed for miners and the working class. The humble t-shirt was constructed for similar purposes (see post The Basic T-Shirt, Never Fade Away.)

Popularized by films of the ’50s and stars like Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean and Marilyn Monroe, these pieces took on a life of their own with the emerging baby boomer population coming of age and with the help of a little  music movement we like to call rock’n’roll which, just happened to take the country by storm.

Elvis Presley swaying his hips in a pair of dungarees, guitar strapped to his chest and a sneer that would launch the genre around the world, was a kind of “@#$% you” to the establishment back in the day. And what teenager doesn’t want to raise the middle finger to their parents’ moral constructs, at least once?

Elvis Presley doing his thing in jeans, a jean shirt and jean jacket!

The timeless, classic combination of jeans, t-shirt, leather motorcycle jacket, a pair of Chucks, all topped with Ray Bans, is still the uniform of choice for rebels without a cause.

With the youthquake movement of the ’60s taking hold, American youth, both male and female, firmly embraced denim and contributed to a world-wide phenomenon which, really, has not been paralleled. Flash-forward to 2014 and denim sales are in the multi-billion dollar category.

But the US style history certainly doesn’t end there. Colliding influences have come from New York high life to the rugged mid-West, to the more laid-back cool of Southern California tomboy/girls.

American designers are an eclectic bunch and have taken on the challenge of catering to all these divergent groups with visions ranging from the ladylike, the business woman, the preppy,  the surfer girl and the modern-day hipster. And that’s just for starters.

Not shy to borrow from their cultural ancestors (this is a land of immigrants, after all) designers have pilfered from a variety of sources and continents, but end up producing in a very US-way.

Some examples, past and present, include Oscar de la Renta for a European-influenced elegance; Bill Blass and Donna Karan known for luxe style in ready-to-wear for the working woman; Ralph Lauren who created a lifestyle brand around the clean-cut, Ivy League preppy; Calvin Klein for a pared-down, simple elegance; Perry Ellis and Marc Jacobs who ushered in youthful irreverence and attitude; relative newbies like Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, and Thakoon – just to name a few.

So, here’s to the US of A! You have given us Ray Bans, Converse, tomboy style, jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, army/navy, the hippie/bohemian, preppy style and minimalism, to name just a very few contributions to the fashion world.

Like teenagers we just can’t ignore, we have watched and followed.

Below is a list of 15 of the most unforgettable, US style icons. Click on one of the photos for details/close-ups and a slideshow:






UKVogue editor Lucinda Chambers chronicles her fashion life


Here’s a more in-depth look at UKVogue contributing editor, Lucinda Chambers (see accompanying article, Personal Style, Do You Have It?) from SHOWStudio. She talks about how she got her start in the fashion biz and what inspired her in her early days.

Please share by clicking one of the links below!




conversations with women, copyright 2014, aboutawomanaboutagirl

%d bloggers like this: