Although sometimes we may think that the physical punishment of childhood should be banned in all countries, sometimes we are surprised to find that it is not. In fact, the Senate of the Republic of Mexico has just approved unanimously, with 114 votes in favor, the prohibition of any type of corporal punishment of minors.
It involves the application of a reform to article 44 of the General Law on the Rights of Girls, Boys and Adolescents, so that any method of physical punishment of minors as a corrective method is established by law. In other words, if everything goes well and the Chamber of Deputies approves it - let us hope so - spanking, flip-flopping, slapping, and any type of violence against minors will be totally prohibited in homes and schools.
This measure is intended to improve the situation of violence to which Mexican girls, boys and adolescents are subjected throughout the country. Violence at home, and even at school, is widespread in Mexican territory. The opinion that the Senate presents, with data from UNICEF, ensures that Eight out of ten assaults on minors are carried out in school and public spaces, followed by the home as the third most common setting for violence against children.
Furthermore, it acknowledges that six out of ten girls, boys and adolescents, between 1 and 14 years old, have ever suffered some method of corrective discipline that involves corporal punishment. Alarming data that increases with those of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) of Mexico, which ensures that, between 2012 and 2017, almost 2,600 children under 15 years of age were murdered, with '42% at the hands of a relative in their homes or for abuse. '
During her participation, the president of the Commission on the Rights of Children and Adolescents, Josefina Vázquez Mota, expanded the information from UNICEF, with data that assures that the incidence of murders of girls is four times higher than that of boys.
UNICEF has made an international call for all countries to prohibit any type of corporal punishment of children, since it involves serious consequences for the development of minors, such as low self-esteem, normalization of aggressive behavior, consequences in their learning abilities, feelings of abandonment or loneliness and development of psychological disorders that can trigger depression, anxiety and even suicide, among others.
There is still a long way to go to eradicate violence against minors in the country. To begin with, it remains to be seen if the Chamber of Deputies approves the measure and, later, that it can be accompanied by adequate sanctions and modifications in the Penal Code so that this reform of the law does not end up becoming empty letters on paper.
Another of the basic needs of the country is a greater awareness against violence towards girls, boys and adolescents, so that fathers, mothers, educators and anyone can learn to educate the minor population with another type of psychology that does not affect their personal development.
UNICEF assures that in addition to physical abuse, one out of every two girls, boys and adolescents in Mexico have suffered psychological attacks. You have to remember that The use of physical and psychological abuse as a corrective method is a learning that tends to be replicated by minors during their childhood and in their adulthood.
The Senate of the Republic has just taken an important first step to change the situation of violence experienced by minors in the country, but for now it is just that, a first step that requires many more.
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