Parental love or child abuse

Updated: 2014-12-12 07:55

(China Daily)

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There should be a line demarcating where parents' expression of love ends and child molestation begins. Besides, acts of affection should be within the confines of social norms, says an article in Southern Metropolis Daily. Excerpts:

A person recently filmed a man kissing a little girl "improperly" on a bus in Zhuhai, Guangdong province. After being posted online, the video created a public controversy, with many netizens saying the man's action constituted child molestation. But the Zhuhai public security authorities announced on Dec 7 that the man in the video is the 3-year-old girl's father and there is nothing to suggest his behavior was inappropriate.

The man in video, surnamed Chen, has been quoted as having said that he was trying to cheer up his edgy daughter.

The incident raises a question: Is there a boundary between expressing parental love and child molestation?

Most countries do not have a regulation on what is the "appropriate" way for a father to kiss or hug his daughter. Different people have different understandings about the expression of parental love, which usually depends on their social and cultural backgrounds.

Western countries have not been free of controversies over child molestation. The late Michael Jackson was indicted in a child molestation case after a journalist made a documentary film on his family life in 2003. In the documentary, Jackson said he always slept with his children, which outraged many Americans. The prosecution accused him of molesting children, but after a long trial he was found not guilty, mainly because the defense used cultural and behavioral differences to defend his action. His attorney said Jackson grew up in poor conditions and was thus used to sleeping with his parents and brothers and sisters, which the court accepted in his defense.

Nevertheless, people should behave according to social norms so as to avoid misunderstandings.