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What sounds at first like a sign of our changing times and how parents need to deal with the latest technology was instead a brutal throwback to a day and age when parents had free rein to physically punish their children. After seeing racy photos of her teenage child on social media, a Georgia mother took to Facebook to shame her daughter, live streaming her reaction. But the vicious beating that followed has left many who saw it wondering if law enforcement will step in.
So what are the limits on public shaming, and is it ever OK to broadcast yourself hitting your child?
"This is my page now," Shanavia Miller said to the camera, streaming live to her daughter Nia Green's Facebook page. "Now I'm gonna need y'all to send this viral. Please share this because I'm not done. More to come." We hope not. The video of the beating (warning: it contains graphic language and violence) includes Miller hitting her daughter with what appears to be a ruler as well as with her open hands and fists, all while calling her daughter a "thot" (slang for slut) and telling her she is "nasty as hell."
Nia had allegedly posted revealing pictures with her boyfriend to her Facebook page, pictures which may have been taken in her mother's house.
Miller was unapologetic after the beating, posting again on her daughter's page:
Although no charges have been filed against Miller as of yet, she could be facing punishment herself. Darnisha Green, spokeswoman for the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, told the Washington Post, "Our special victims unit looked into the case and officers talked to the mother and daughter. Although the daughter said she felt safe in the home, the case has been referred to the Department of Family and Children Services."
Public shaming has become a more popular form of punishment, both for parents and for the criminal justice system. But is it always legal? While there are no specific statutes prohibiting public shaming, anything that is already illegal -- like physical abuse, child abandonment, and child neglect -- remains illegal, even if done to teach a lesson. The kind of beating that sends a child to the hospital probably falls in that category.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.