chapter  25
16 Pages

Witnessing History and Charting the Future: Pathways to Prohibition


The stories told in this book document a social movement of tremendous historical signifi cance. They bear witness to a paradigm shift in global conceptions of childhood. Every story has revealed a cultural history of violence against children that has been legitimated through law, education, religion, and tradition reaching back centuries. The belief that children learn through physical and emotional pain has been fi rmly entrenched in societies around the world. It is only now, in our time, that this belief has been seriously challenged. Children in the last 30 years have begun to be viewed as persons, rights bearers and full participants in their families and societies. This movement has been symbolized by the prohibition of physical punishment, a tangible refl ection of children’s changing status.