Almost a year ago, I wrote about a terrible tragedy - the murder of Adrian Peterson’s two-year old son. In the past week, you would have to have been hiding under a rock not to hear about how this same man, who lost a son he never had the chance to know, was now being indicted for abusing his four year old son. I cannot accurately describe the rage I felt when I heard this story. I defended Peterson a year ago, and was sad for him that he never had the chance to know his child who was murdered. Now, after seeing the graphic pictures of his four year old son’s battered little boy, I want to spit on this poor excuse for a father.
Close to home:
For those who are familiar with my story, you know that I am intimately familiar with how it feels to lose a child. I also know the pain of learning that your child was murdered as the result of a horribly abusive incident. I simply cannot understand how a man whose child was murdered in this violent way can justify raising his hand to another one of his children. As I read more and more about the story, I felt as though I had entered some strange alternate reality. I couldn’t believe how bold this man was to believe he would not have to face the law after what he did. In case you missed it, the following text messages show Peterson’s reaction to what he did to this innocent child.
(The following are text messages he sent the child’s mother after returning the child from a visit.)
Mother: “What happened to his head?”
Peterson: “Hit his head on the Carseat.”
Mother: “How does that happen, he got a whoopin in the car.”
Peterson: “I felt so bad. But he did it his self.”
(The messages go on with Peterson describing how he was “disciplining” the child for cussing at a sibling.)
Mother: “What did you hit him with?”
Peterson: “Be still n take ya whooping he would have saved the scare (scar). He aight (all right)”
(Translation in the event you cannot understand Peterson’s poor use of the English language: “If he had not tried to escape me when I was beating him up, maybe he wouldn’t have gotten a scar. He will be alright.”)
When I heard about Peterson, I was appalled, and I regretted ever believing he would have been a good influence for any of his children. What is equally appalling is the reactions that I have heard from people after the news that Peterson had been indicted. People came out of the woodwork to defend child abuse. Since Peterson used the term “discipline”, many folks believed this gave him a free pass to beat the shit out of his four year old.
Here is a sample of some of the vial things I read in response to the felony that Peterson committed against his son:
1) “If it left bruises and welts, okay fine, charge him. I’m just waiting for the anti-spanking brigade to use this to push their parenting ideas on others. While everyone has their own ideas about punishment, I don’t think using a switch constitutes abuse.”
In what reality does beating a child with a stick NOT cause bruises and welts? How about I have you grab a branch off of that tree so I can hit you with it, and let’s see if you still think this doesn’t constitute abuse.
I am not in the business of giving random unsolicited parenting advice (ok, maybe sometimes I do – but you all have the choice to continue reading or not). It isn’t my business whether you choose to give your kids veggies for breakfast, sleep train a certain way, or wait until they are older for kindergarten. That said, I will ALWAYS stand firm against child abuse because your abused child is going to turn into an adult who thinks abuse is an acceptable behavior when you are upset with someone. Whether or not you choose to abuse your child is not a personal parenting decision. It is something society has a right to judge and speak out against. And yes, I am from the anti-spanking brigade.
2) “This is insulting. Why in the hell would he be charged with anything for this? He is a parent and can discipline his children however he sees fit!!!!”
Just because people like this disguise child abuse with the term “discipline” doesn’t make it any less illegal. Newsflash, you don’t have a right as a parent to abuse your child. Period.
3) “No big deal, my Mom/Dad did the same to me.” And one of my favorite variations of this argument:
“I was spanked as a kid. I think I turned out fine. I am 23, and even to this day, my mom wouldn’t hesitate to slap me across the face.”
This quote I have seen in several different locations. This argument is just as silly as saying, “well, it isn’t a big deal that my husband beats me…I mean, my Dad beat my Mom and she didn’t get killed.” Wake up folks!! Just because you were abused as a child, doesn’t mean you should continue the abuse just because it happened to you. I also wonder what sort of respect you have for yourself, and for your mother, if you are 23 and your Mom is slapping you in the face. Congratulations for surviving an abusive childhood, but please stop the cycle.
I could go on for pages with the amount of people who were defending this sorry ass human. Wasn’t just a few weeks ago when we had to watch another football player knock out his wife in an elevator? After the way people reacted to Peterson, it shouldn’t shock us that domestic violence has become so damn common. So many people seem to think its ok for an adult to hit a child (which nobody would argue is a fair fight), but when a grown man beats a grown woman we wonder why she is staying in the marriage. Why do we have such double standards when it comes to children, yet we are all appalled and confused when we see story after story about children getting murdered by their parents?
Finally, I hope that in the past month you all are able to see the parallels between these two stories. Here you have two men for whom violence appears to be the norm. I bet if we asked Ray Rice how he feels about Peterson’s situation, he would likely say something like, “I don’t see why it’s a big deal…I mean, my Dad and Mom made me get my own switch before they beat my ass. I call that discipline.” Sure Ray, and I bet you also call what happened in the elevator a love tap too right?