Is child murder their first crime or do they have a history of violence?

The news below reminded me of my domestic helper’s grand daughter. She had brought her with her and shown me the marks on her face, back and legs. Her father had suddenly decided to help her with her studies and found her knowledge not up to his expectations. The man used to beat his wife also, her one ear was damaged by his slaps. They did see the violence as an issue, but this was the story in every other family they knew. The only solution the mother had was asking the daughter to leave the man, but the daughter was unwilling to do that.

Man kills 8-year-old daughter over homework.

I found the news very disturbing, please keep that in mind before reading further.

BANGALORE: A furious man killed his eight-year-old daughter with a rolling pin because she didn’t answer questions during homework.

Neha was Satyanarayan’s daughter from his first wife, Asha Singh, who had committed suicide in 2006. Satyanarayan was acquitted in the dowry harassment and murder case of his wife. He married again and has a two-year-old daughter from his second wife. The family stayed in a rented house in II Cross, Avalahalli.

The incident took place when the rest of the household was watching TV, the family members told police.

Neha was studying and Satyanarayan approached her and asked her a couple of questions from her homework. However, Neha could not answer and an angry Satyanarayan hit her. Later, he went out along with his mother, wife and younger daughter, leaving Neha alone at home.

On returning home, Satyanarayan saw Neha sleeping. He woke her up and asked her the questions again. But Neha could not answer. A furious Satyanarayan then dragged her into one of the rooms and began beating her using a rolling pin.

This is why all violence and crimes should be taken seriously.

Was this violence about HW or pressures or parenting? Or was this a sick man who should have been behind bars?

Why do we have so many cases of fathers beating their children to death? Is child murder their first crime or do they have a history of violence?

Related Posts:

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The father threw the baby on the ground and tried to strangle her with his legs: No case registered.

“Protecting and ensuring safety of women pretty much determined survival of our species as a whole”

Do you think we tend to glorify or even romanticize violence, conveying that only some kind of violence is wrong?

One rapist let off with a few slaps, another rapist allowed to kill for family honor.

Which kind of violence is justified ???

 

39 thoughts on “Is child murder their first crime or do they have a history of violence?

  1. I am reminded of the story I wrote. What would it have taken for the situation to change to something like the news above?
    Violence should NEVER be justified.

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    • Shail! I comment here sometimes, but am going anonymous this time.

      That story is touching, yet eerily brilliant because it reminds me of my own childhood. Just replace maths with hindi. Only other difference is I didn’t walk out, though I did consider running away many times.

      Instead I soaked up the beatings, and thought I actually deserved it. In 8th standard and above, I studied really hard just so I could avoid getting beaten, not because I wanted to study. The beatings finally stopped after a couple of incidents once I was 21 – Once I lashed out back in anger, hit my dad back and he fell down, and once after he threw a table at me, and I threw it back. I’m not really proud of it, but at the time, I was overwhelmed by my own frustration at having to get beaten at 21 years of age!

      I hated my stay as long as I lived in my parents’ house. Later, I planned, and once my younger bro’s final year fees was paid, quit my job and traveled abroad to do masters. My granddad helped me with fees, and later I got a scholarship – I did all that just to get away and live independently. I did this without telling anyone the real reason.

      It’s surprising that my bro never ran out because he bore a lot more of my dad’s wrath because I constantly kept overshadowing him in terms of marks, though in terms of street-smartness and real worldliness, he is way better than me.

      My dad never hit my mom though.

      All this doesn’t mean I don’t love my dad. He’s an absolutely great guy in every other aspect. But still there are areas where I resent his behaviour in the past. I am constantly awed when I see kids who’ve never gotten beaten by anyone ever, kids who share all and freely with their parents. Kids who call and talk to their own parents of their own volition. Kids who are able to interact easily with other people and make friends and develop relationships. Something I’ve never been able to do. I am not sure if the keeping to myself habit is acquired or innate, but I do remember telling a close friend of mine sometime during 4th, 5th or 6th standards that I hated going to school and getting beaten up by teachers for not doing well, and then coming home and getting beaten up for the same thing and I think that’s when I sort of started keeping to myself.

      I used to get serious bouts of anger when I was in India. I’ve now been abroad for 2 years, and I find myself to have a far more easy going attitude. Given my own space and living life on my own, I can understand some of the frustrations my dad was going through, I actually feel sorry for him – heavy business losses, unemployment for a while, loss of face amongst relatives. He didn’t run away though, didn’t turn to alcohol either. But still, taking it out on the kids wasn’t a great idea, IMO.

      If I ever start a family and have kids, I hope I am able to not continue the cycle of violence, as is often common, from what I hear.

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  2. Violence is a huge issue always. Some people tend to be more violent than others , it could be their personality but a lot of it is contributed from our social milieu. My domestic help had once told me, he was from Nepal ,that back home a man is not man enough if he does not hit his wife and kids once in a while, that is so true in so many setups in India too.
    while writing for RING THE BELL campaign I realised that a lot of it gets condoned by families and parents saying “arrey ladke to thoda aggressive hote hi hain” ( boys will be boys) and girls on the other hand are taught to be quiet and FORGET and/or FORGIVE.
    http://poojasharmarao.blogspot.in/2013/05/why-boys-will-always-be-boys.html

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  3. It is appalling to note that the Court acquitted the person for charges of dowry harassment and murder and the 8 yr old child had to remain within the custody of her father… It is understandable that proving crimes in most cases is difficult due to various factors… But the child security and rehabilitation is an important issue to be dealt with, where clearly the person on whom the child is dependant is someone who had a history of violent behaviour.

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    • And the news as reported as the father killing the child over HW – as if this was the first and only time the violence must have happened. The other members also left the eight year old alone at home and went out (no details given) and found her asleep when they returned, and they claimed to have been watching TV when she was being beaten so brutally. Where is any talk about not beating children?

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        • As a society we see violence as a normal even a healthy way to deal with something that doesn’t turn out the way we expected it to.

          Also, I wonder if its fair for schools to expect parents to do most of the teaching… HW should be discouraged, let schools teach.

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      • Roots of problems like these lie in the patriarchal design of our society. We cannot expect society to change where women are viewed as inferior to men for ages. More than the younger generation who are growing up in considerably gender equal age, it is important to educate the elder men on a moral basis for whom girls and women are nothing more than objects.

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  4. Horrible… So painful to even read about this. Yet it keeps happening all around us and we watch it. There needs to be strict rules as in other countries regarding child abuse at home.
    I have heard from Indian parents settled abroad that schools teach children to call 119 number if any adult beats them. The authorities respond to every 119 call immediately on emergency basis. Our children too need to be educated from their toddler ages that they can call helplines and emergency numbers if their family members beat them, Play schools and LKG education should teach the child that he/she should not tolerate any adult beating them.
    Our society and parenting process should have produced more sensible and responsible adults. If the adults are this merciless, then children need help in protecting themselves.

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  5. This father is a good example of someone who should never have become a parent or spouse.
    I’ve never understood adults who think yelling, hitting & or humiliating a child are effective teaching methods.

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  6. Dear Readers,
    I’m a single working woman… I see parents & teachers hurting kids many a time. And I do talk against it every time I can. And I hear things like- she/hes sooo naughty, to discipline, don’t obey. You can preach all you want now. But you will also do the same when you becm a parent.
    As far as I am concerned, someone who hurts a child is nothing short of a monster. If parenthood means that I too will become a monster then I dont want to be a parent.
    One Incident: My cousin’s wedding. We all played a prank on the groom. As we planted the crackers in the bedroom & were escaping, my cousin’s mom caught sight of us & made a ruckus. She specially abused one particular cousin. Her mom (another aunt) got mad and beat her up with her high-healed slippers black n blue in front of all of us. With difficulty we separated them. I shouted at aunt and said just because you’re a mother doesn’t mean that u can do any damn thing. But everybody tried to shush me. Said im immature. A mother cannot tolerate her child being scolded/bad mouthed. Thats why she beat- out of anger/sadness- WHAT THE ****!
    Another aunt- I’d have reacted like this too if someone insulted my child- ‘by beating up ur child’?

    Of course the mother-child dotes on each other. Do children really forget & forgive easily? On rare occasions I too had a beating or two from my parents. Of course there was bitterness. Not all the time though. In fact i didnt even know I was bitter. Bitterness suddenly cropped up during vulnerable moments- sometimes when its completely unwarranted.

    Even the most abused kids hesitate to say ‘I hate my dad/mom because she beats me’. Do abuse from a loved one take kids by surprise that they dont know what to feel?

    Is beating (even mildly) necessary for disciplining? If there are parents who have never laid a finger on their child despite the ‘provocation’ on this blog, could you guys please tell me what methods do you use? How do I make my aunts, parents & teachers at school (I do part time counseling at school. And kids tell me these things) rethink? How do I get them to admit that beating the child is wrong.

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    • “If there are parents who have never laid a finger on their child despite the ‘provocation’ on this blog, could you guys please tell me what methods do you use? ”

      Start with the premise – to be a parent, you need to be an adult first. Mature adults do not solve problems by beating one another. Let’s say I have a problem with one of my reports. Let’s assume she is physically weaker than me. Also, as a supervisor, I do have some rights over her. Yet, I do not have the right to physically assault her in any way. If I did, I would be in jail. So, what I do is, I try to resolve it using communication. It is no different with children. No adult should have the right to hit, beat, slap, kick, or otherwise physically assault a child. It should be treated as a crime, if it isn’t already. How can hitting an adult NOT be okay but hitting a child be okay? That defies logic.

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      • Thanks Mam… And what if the child disobey repeatedly, break & throw things, shout at parents, use expletives?
        The thing is I get sooo angry and upset with these abusers and it leaves me incoherent. Knowing that something is wrong is just not enough. If I want to help the kids I need to convince the parents. I need to prepare what to say in such situations and keep a cool head. Your points will definitely help me next time.

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        • If the child is breaking/throwing things in anger, chances are the child learnt thi from adults. He (or she) has never been shown how to communication her feelings of anger or frustration in a more acceptable way. More importantly, the child has never been taught how to head off ‘extreme anger’ situations by communicating needs, problem solving, etc. That is why it is important to parents to remain calm even when they are angry and demonstrate self-control so kids will learn to do the same.

          There are many many things parents can do to solve problems (that are alternatives to hitting):
          – talk to the child and clearly lay out expectations (“You can watch TV AFTER you finish your school work. You may watch for a max time of 40 minutes.)
          – set up consequences for rule breaking (“I’m going to have to remove TV watching for you for the next couple of days. We had an understanding that you would finish your school work before watching. You did not stick to our agreement.)
          – When doling out the consequence, do not sound angry or frustrated. Do not make the child sound like a villain. Merely state the facts and casually remove the privilege. The child thereby understands that everyone makes mistakes, that mistakes have natural consequences, and it is possible to learn from them.
          If the child begs, “Mummy please, I won’t do this again, I promise! Can I watch today?? Please!!!”
          you can reply, “I know you won’t. I know you can learn from this. But let’s stick to our agreement.”
          If your child shouts, “You are mean!! I want to watch my show! Right now!”
          you can say, “I see that you are angry. I do not like being called mean. I would also like you to lower your voice. We had an understanding. I’m willing to discuss it, if you are willing to be respectful – no name calling, no shouting.”
          If the child then starts crying, you can give him a hug, comfort him, tell him everyone makes mistakes, but without consequences, we don’t learn from them.

          Generally children that grow up in homes where parents actively communicate with them, have clear and consistent rules, learn early on to be reasonable and responsible. There will be the occassional outburst but you will see them using the same problem solving techniques and heading off many anger situations skillfully.

          Hope that helps!:)

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  7. Is there any helpline to report if we find someone beating their kids? I have been searching for it but couldn’t find it. One of my relatives beats his kids brutally (even in front of his neighbours and relatives) and no one says a word. My parents and I were there once and tried talking to him, but he wouldn’t listen. His wife says the kids are very annoying and her husband has too much of stress from his work, and so he beats them. She also says they deserve those beatings. We stopped visiting them, but I still couldn’t forget that incident. I know it happens very regularly, but don’t have any proof. I know his neighbours, his wife and even the kids won’t talk against him. What should be in done in such cases?

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  8. I am all tears…
    Indeed, getting beaten up in presence of others is humiliation beyond words. A child is highly delicate, sensitive and emotional and even a small act does make a huge impact on his/her mind. This was too emotional with the latest cases of child abuse in Kerala and Karnataka…even Falak. Tolerance levels in humans is reducing day by day and it pains to see that small kids too bear the brunt.

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  9. To this I must most unfortunately say, been there, done that. I am upfront going to apologize or a superlong comment.

    My family changed homes accross the city when i was 8. Until then I had been the model daughter, straight A’s with none less than 95%. The problem when we had to change schools was that I was a year younger for my class, being an August born. My parents didn’t want to ‘waste’ a year, so as the options for schools in the new area dwindled, they had to put me in a terrible school. Oh it was so terrible! In last 10 years they had produced no merit rankers!

    For me this school was my heaven! They had more play time, more games, more activities and best of all no homework! Not that my parents believed me. At age 8 they thought when I said no homework, I was lying! I didn’t even know what a lie was, but that day I found what beating was. Next day, they found from the school that there was no homework. To this day, I await the apology.

    That day had set up a trend that would continue for next 13 years. My marks were regularly compared with those of other children my age and found terribly lacking. My parents were determined to make a doctor out of me and to that end I had my lessons beaten into me.

    The turning point in my life came on the day of my 10th results. I got a 92%, my parents seemed to tell the whole world and I thought they were finally proud of me. They were, just not in the way I would have like it.

    That night, a family friend come over to our place. Her son was in a school that segregated children based on their marks and he had sunken to the lowest grade. She wanted me to coach her son. Of course she will, my mother accepted for me. She will beat the lessons into his head just as we have done with her.

    It didn’t shock me that my mother thought I’d ‘beat the lessons into his head’, but that the other lady nodded like she agreed. For the first time in my life I found my voice and I said, Aunty, I am sorry, I cannot beat a child no matter what. I will coach him if you like, try to improve his grade. But under no circumstance will I ever raise my hand on a child.

    5 years later, I put my theory to test. While in college, I volunteered to teach a group oh homeless boys. They were 12-14 year olds, and their last tutor had left them mid semester. You are going to be no good miss, he told me. They need a big man and a strong stick. What finally worked was a short woman, no stick and lots of patience. I taught them history and geography, the bane of a tutors. I taught them through stories of that period, through activites and we had lot of fun. I finally put my first theory to test, if kids don’t learn its ’cause teachers cant teach.

    I learnt many years later, that when we moved the new home, my parents had taken on a huge loan. They were frustrated with work and were taking it out on me. No, I never condoned this behavior and this became my deal breaker question when trying to get married.
    “Did you parent ever beat you and if yes, how do you feel about it?”

    I was shocked to find that most guys answered yes to the first part and that they deserved it. Thats when I said no. Until I met this amazing guy who said “Yes they did. And you know what, I feel I would have done better in my boards if I had not broken my arm!”

    And just like that I knew I had verified my seceond theory, just because we were beaten as children didn’t mean we would do the same. We test this theory out every day with our 3 year old daughter. She is just like all 3 year old children full of mischief, but we have never found a problem what we couldn’t explain to her. Even today, we never leave her alone with her grandparents, we don’t trust them. Our little girl is growing up in a home where children have openions, every one makes mistakes and there is no problem that a discussion can’t solve. I am afraid of the day she will find that there are children who die because they can’t do their homework!

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    • @ChildrenarePeopleToo

      I so agree with you! Yesterday I lost patience while teaching my 3.5 year old and told she will go to baby class if she does not learn something. I saw the hurt in her eyes and immediately regretted it. We both sat down, worked from the basics and she eventually got it. And I was left thinking what difference it will make if she ‘got it’ at 4 instead of at 3.5 years?

      At our home, we regularly say sorry to our daughter when we are in the wrong. How else is she going to learn to apologize for her mistakes if she does not see us do it? She is allowed to be angry with us, disappointed with us. All we ask for is that she be polite and respectful while expressing herself.

      And yes, I have learnt that explaining why I want her to do something has much better results than just asking her to do it.

      I can’t imagine someone beating their kid with a rolling pin, let alone beating so hard that the child dies. Some people do not deserve to be parents.

      Like

      • “At our home, we regularly say sorry to our daughter when we are in the wrong.”
        Isn’t it funny how many parents expect children to say sorry to them but won’t say sorry to their children! Great going at setting the right example to ur grl!

        Seriously explaining has way better results, sometimes it also makes us question why we are asking something of our children! I believe those innocent “Why?” are going to make better people out of us!

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  10. I felt so bad when I read this, how can you do this? How can you justify these things?? That sweet child already had lost her mother. God gives kids to people who don’t deserve.

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  11. This hurts me on a personal level. I adore my parents, I truly do, but having been on the receiving end of several beatings as a child for not scoring well enough or working hard enough at school I know what that feels like. I’m much older now, but the result of this is that I can’t bring myself to honestly talk to my parents about my education because I’m still afraid they will get angry rather than be understanding.

    My sister had it much worse than me. She works like a horse, but she is not someone who is “naturally” intelligent (whatever the hell that means). Her performance also relies heavily upon her mood. In short, not only did she perform average, but going through the harrowing experience of suffering physical/verbal abuse meant that she did far worse than she what she was capable of. NOBODY in my family understood this until she found a tutor who was kind, patient and understanding. She brought her mark up from a 60% to a 90% on her boards.

    I honestly do not understand where the Indian parents’ propensity to use physical violence in order to discipline CHILDREN comes from. I really don’t. And then they dare to blame the CHILD. “He/She made me angry! He/She should have known better!” Oh yeah, as if that’s the perfect excuse to behave like an animal to someone who is COMPLETELY defenseless. Victim blaming in our society runs rampant in any situation. Are we as a society still such emotional children that we cannot take responsibility for our own faults and must constantly use scapegoats?

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  12. When we hit children, we are teaching them several things:
    One, that violence is okay.
    Two, that if you are in a position of power, you get to abuse it.
    Three, that violence solves problems.
    Four, that it is NOT okay to make mistakes – you could pay with bruises or with your life.
    Five, that ‘strong’ means vicious.
    Six, that you can apply different rules to different people.
    Seven, that fear is an effective tool in silencing opinions.
    Eight, that relationships are inherently hierarchical. You have no option but to be inferior to someone or superior to them.

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  13. This was a true incident I witnessed. It was some hrs ago when my kids were perhaps around 12/13 yrs, we’ve never raised our hand on them, rised voices tht too mostly me, never ever their dad and never or something silly as school work. But me and the boys were visiting a friend’s apt and while climbing up we saw this huge tamas ha of a man and his wife belting their son, yelling in public while the boy around my kids age had his ands over his head in fear and begged that he would do well next exam. They topped or sec while we passed and my sons ran to the boy and said loudly ‘ array belt ko pakdo aur kecho na’. And the child say ‘ meera father who’. And my son asked him ‘tho kya hua’. And proceeded to tell him to send his dad to jail…I was quite hooked but at the same time I realized that my boys having never gotten as much as a smack from us felt everyone was equal and no one could hit another human. Father or otherwise. Simple.
    Of course I had to lecture them on poking thir long noses but my husband sat by admiring and encouraging their stand up for someone weaker theory.
    Kids see and understand a lot at the same time how you raise them have a lasting effect on how they raise future gen.

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  14. Pingback: But is this crime really about Semi-forced Arranged marriages or Gay rights? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  15. Pingback: What advice would you give to a woman whose husband beats her when she does not give him lunch on time? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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