An Egyptian living in Europe but her heart stayed back home. Having some random thoughts about the before and after pictures. Ghawayesh means bracelets. In my context it symbolizes the cuffs of my culture. I don't know if I like them or hate them. Thanks for passing by.

About Me

My photo
I started this blog in 2006 as a joke. Now that I look back, I have decided to take it seriously!

26 August 2011

Memoirs of a Slapped Child

The first time my mother slapped me, I was 14. I had asked her to get a haircut at the hairdresser, and she suggested that our neighbor, Tante Hadya, would do it for me just as good. Trusting mom's opinion, I went upstairs to get a haircut! An hour later, I came down in hysterical tears. The lovely Tante Hadya had fucked the bloody shit out of my godforsaken hair. I only wanted the ends to be trimmed, and of course she chopped more than the triple of what I wanted, making me look like an army soldier in Vietnam. Having been thinner than air as a teenager on her confused way to become a woman; I had, of course, my multiple inferiority complexes about my exterior, mainly; not looking feminine enough like the gamoosa Layla Elwy as a beauty reference in our 7alaleef culture. So, Tante Hadya's genius haircut had put shit on my wound and made me become a spitting image of The Mahatma Gandhi- oh.. Minus the glasses. Phew.

I was screaming hysterically at mom. Pointing at my hair and yelling:"How could you let her do this to me?", and crap like that. Before I knew it, I was seeing stars and the left half of my face had lost its sensation for what seemed to be several minutes. My ear was buzzing and it felt like I was walking on the moon. I don't exactly know how strong mom's blow on my face was, but to let you get an idea; my mother was Africa's champion in Shot Put & Discus Throw, plus, she was angry!

As I grew up I developed weakness in the muscles of my left side of the face. My left eyelid is slightly drooping and I have to work hard on smiling.

The first time ever to have gotten slapped on my face was when I was 5. The person who did that was Uncle Azmy, my mom's brother; for having broken a glass in his house, after he asked me to go in the dark and fetch him his watch from his bedroom. And I had been afraid of the dark!! I actually remember him raising his hand as far as he could reach to land on my face with all his force. I fell on the floor from the impact of the blow. I even remember the shape of the wooden floor with my tears on it. That experience gave me nightmares for years.

More than 25 years later; I was still having flashbacks of that slap that made me rethink having children a hundred times again. I was too scared of repeating this pattern in them- unintentionally.

Words can never describe how I felt in those moments. Extreme anger. The desire to hit back. And most of all; hatred.

A tiny seed of hatred grew within me towards my mother and my, back then, favorite uncle.

The second time that I recall was when I was in my 20s. I had been late out and came back home before midnight. Mom's curfew hour was 10 pm. After that you would be put through hell. That time she'd locked the door from inside, waited till I came home and rang the bell several times, that even the neighbors' "maid" (who worked for us later on, during which I could never look her in the eye out of shame); came out to ask if I was OK, and waited with me until mom opened. Mom opened the door looking like a mad dragon, and started slapping me, pulling my hair, and kicking me in front of the young woman.

Humiliation aside, as I was getting hit; I felt the seed of hatred growing towards my mother. She literally broke my pride and I could hear my ego shatter in a million pieces. I felt like the tiniest piece of shit of the tiniest cockroach.

I can't recall much about the last time that happened, but I do recall feeling so much hatred for her that I was wishing death upon her every single day for years. I was praying to God that she would lose her power and end up being handicapped like Boneless Chicken.

Many, many moons on, my mother still feels the bitterness in me towards her. She had never hit my younger sisters and one could see very clearly that their relationships with her are in much better places than mine. While she spends her year traveling across America dividing her time between my 3 sisters in their homes; I never invited her to visit me in Europe, and never will.

My seed of hatred for her was my biggest motivation to immigrate.

One day as I was visiting from Europe; she came to my room, sat on my bed next to me, hugged me, and cried her heart out to apologize. She said that I was her "first and biggest love", and that she was "so sorry", etc. Like a corpse, all I wanted was for her to go away. There was no love left. Love was killed on my cheek when I was 14.

The first time my mother slapped me I was angry at her, the second time I hated her, the third time; I wished death upon her. None of those were her goals when she hit me to achieve them.

The other day as I was listening to my dear friend who was advocating how slapping can be necessary at times; flashbacks of those moments came before my eyes. I couldn't say a word; as I didn't want to cry like a baby whose only need.. was.. a hug. I had to concentrate on the idea of seeking positive energy until the end of the day. I felt the urge to feel God's loving hand again- and I luckily did.

My dear friend, do not ever slap a child on his face. Ever. Do not make your goal to humiliate a child or break his ego. Ever. Do you know why the revolution in Egypt took place? Because the police hit the youth, especially on their faces. What was the result? Google Image: "Khaled Said" and you will see! The image of his lifeless body with a broken face hurts me too much to post it here.

Please listen to me this once: Sow the seed of love and you will harvest nothing but love. We are here to be the source of love and respect for our children, not a well of pain and fear to them. They can learn so much with love that they can never learn with violence. Trust me.

I feel better now.

From me, with love. xxx

P.s. Here's a copy and paste of this part of the Wiki article about the subject of corporal punishment:

A 1996 literature review by Robert Larzelere suggested that, in some circumstances, corporal punishment of children can increase short-term compliance with parental commands. Examples of such circumstances noted by Larzelere are that no implements should be used, that the child is between ages 2 and 6, that the punishment be carried out in private, and that it should occur less than once per week. However, comparisons in the same study with alternative punishments such as one-minute time-outs did not establish that corporal punishment was more effective. This paper also did not measure long term outcomes.[44]

A 1996 study by Straus suggested that children who receive corporal punishment are more likely to be angry as adults, use spanking as a form of discipline, approve of striking a spouse, and experience marital discord.[49] According to Cohen's 1996 study, older children who receive corporal punishment may resort to more physical aggression, substance abuse, crime and violence.[50] However, it is not always clear what these studies define as "corporal punishment".

A 1997 study by Straus, Sugarman and Giles-Sims[51] found detrimental child outcomes of nonabusive or customary physical punishment by parents using a design that would not also tend to find detrimental outcomes of most alternative discipline responses. Its findings were criticised by Larzelere,[52] who affirmed that the new study did not contradict his earlier study, the conclusions of which were summarized by Baumrind as "a blanket injunction against spanking is not scientifically supportable".[53] Larzelere granted that frequent and severe corporal punishment carried with it an increased risk for detrimental effects, but saw no proof that an occasional swat could harm a child in the long run.[52]

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in an official policy statement[54] (reaffirmed in 2004) states that "Corporal punishment is of limited effectiveness and has potentially deleterious side effects." The AAP recommends that parents be "encouraged and assisted in the development of methods other than spanking for managing undesired behavior". In particular, the AAP believes that any corporal punishment methods other than open-hand spanking on the buttocks or extremities "are unacceptable" and "should never be used". The policy statement points out, summarizing several studies, that "The more children are spanked, the more anger they report as adults, the more likely they are to spank their own children, the more likely they are to approve of hitting a spouse, and the more marital conflict they experience as adults."[49] Spanking has been associated with higher rates of physical aggression, more substance abuse, and increased risk of crime and violence when used with older children and adolescents.[50]

The Canadian Pediatrics Society policy on corporal punishment states "The Psychosocial Paediatrics Committee of the Canadian Paediatric Society has carefully reviewed the available research in the controversial area of disciplinary spanking (7-15)... The research that is available supports the position that spanking and other forms of physical punishment are associated with negative child outcomes. The Canadian Paediatric Society, therefore, recommends that physicians strongly discourage disciplinary spanking and all other forms of physical punishment".[55]

In the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have both called for a complete ban on all corporal punishment, stating "We believe it is both wrong and impracticable to seek to define acceptable forms of corporal punishment of children. Such an exercise is unjust. Hitting children is a lesson in bad behaviour".[56] and that "it is never appropriate to hit or beat children".[57]

The Australian Psychological Society holds that physical punishment of children should not be used as it has very limited capacity to deter unwanted behavior, does not teach alternative desirable behavior, often promotes further undesirable behaviors such as defiance and attachment to "delinquent" peer groups, and encourages an acceptance of aggression and violence as acceptable responses to conflicts and problems.[58]

Opponents of corporal punishment sometimes argue that spanking constitutes "violence" and is therefore by definition "abusive". Some psychological research is held to indicate that corporal punishment causes the deterioration of trust bonds between parents and children. It is claimed that children subjected to corporal punishment may grow resentful, shy, insecure, or violent. Adults who report having been slapped or spanked by their parents in childhood have been found to experience elevated rates of anxiety disorder, alcohol abuse or dependence and externalizing problems as adults.[59] Some researchers believe that corporal punishment actually works against its objective (normally obedience), since children will not voluntarily obey an adult they do not trust. Researcher Elizabeth Gershoff, Ph. D., in a 2002 meta-analytic study that combined 60 years of research on corporal punishment, found that the only positive outcome of corporal punishment was immediate compliance; however, corporal punishment was associated with less long-term compliance.[60] Corporal punishment was linked with nine other negative outcomes, including increased rates of aggression, delinquency, mental health problems, problems in relationships with their parents, and likelihood of being physically abused.

Opponents claim that much child abuse begins with spanking: a parent accustomed to using corporal punishment may, on this view, find it all too easy, when frustrated, to step over the line into physical abuse. One study found that 40% of 111 mothers were worried that they could possibly hurt their children.[61] It is argued that frustrated parents turn to spanking when attempting to discipline their child, and then get carried away (given the arguable continuum between spanking and hitting). This "continuum" argument also raises the question of whether a spank can be "too hard" and how (if at all) this can be defined in practical terms. This in turn leads to the question whether parents who spank their children "too hard" are crossing the line and beginning to abuse them.

Opponents also argue that a problem with the use of corporal punishment is that, if punishments are to maintain their efficacy, the amount of force required may have to be increased over successive punishments. This has been claimed by the American Academy of Pediatrics,[54] which has asserted: "The only way to maintain the initial effect of spanking is to systematically increase the intensity with which it is delivered, which can quickly escalate into abuse". Additionally, the Academy noted that: "Parents who spank their children are more likely to use other unacceptable forms of corporal punishment."[62]

The American Academy of Pediatrics also believes that corporal punishment polarizes the parent-child relationship, reducing the amount of spontaneous cooperation on the part of the child. The AAP policy statement says " on spanking as a discipline approach makes other discipline strategies less effective to use".[54] Thus, so it is alleged, it has an addiction-like effect: the more one spanks, the more one feels a need to spank, possibly escalating until the situation is out of control.

A 2003 review of available research into parental punishment concluded that "strong evidence exists that the use of physical punishment has a number of inherent risks regarding the physical and mental health and well-being of children".[63]

A 2006 retrospective report study in New Zealand showed that physical punishment of children was quite common in the 1970s and 80s, with 80% of the sample reporting some kind of corporal punishment from parents at some time during childhood. Among this sample, 29% reported being hit with an empty hand, 45% with an object, and 6% were subjected to serious physical abuse. The study noted that abusive physical punishment tended to be given by fathers and often involved striking the child's head or torso instead of the buttocks or limbs.[64]

A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine[65] found that mothers who reported spanking their children were more likely (6% vs 2%) to also report using forms of punishment considered abusive to the researchers "such as beating, burning, kicking, hitting with an object somewhere other than the buttocks, or shaking a child less than 2 years old" than mothers who did not report spanking, and increases in the frequency of spanking were statistically correlated with increased odds of abuse.[66]

There is also MRI evidence that children treated with harsh corporal punishment have reduced gray matter when aged 18–25 in their prefrontal lobe. Such research also found that these reductions in gray matter linked to reduced performance IQ on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.[67]


Nada El-Nebery said...

let me say i'm a first time reader and i simply luved every word u wrote and i was really touched cuz i kinda went through the same thing as a child cuz children are weak and vulnerable and easy prey for bullies especially adults . and i went through all the in securities and blaming ur self , hving problems fitting in & always ashamed in front of ur friends and feel like an outsider when u hear anecdotes about their parents being so tolerable and loving it really hit me deep i felt like a dagger was jammed deep into my heart making it heavy to breath everyti me i think about it or go back with my memories but here's a promise from em to you i'll never be my parents and i admire you so much for taking this journey and standing up on ur feet and being the amazing person writing this blog today so generally i luv ur blog and luv the mix between the two cultures that u did luv it and luv u <3

Ghawayesh said...


Your words gave me goosebumps. I love you too 7abibty. Look, we can always see this experience as an eye-opener so as NEVER to hit our kids or hurt them like we were hurt. For no one can feel the pain like someone who felt the pain. You are going to make a great mother I'm sure. I wish I could give you a hug right now. شرفتي حبيبتي

Blog Archive

Look Who's Here :D