Norway – a progressive country ?
Monday November 05, 2007
Dear Alice Miller,
Two years ago Peter Newell, Coordinator of the organization End Corporal Punishment, wrote a letter to the Norwegian Minister of Justice, Knut Storberget, because the Supreme Court had decided that Norwegian law allows parents to use lighter forms of physical punishment. The Children’s Ombudsman Reidar Hjermann, who is a psychologist, also wrote to him. The Minister indicated in a broadcast that he hoped Norway would legislate to outlaw all smacking.
Peter Newell wrote that he and other campaigners on this issue have long promoted Norway, along with Sweden, Finland and a few other European countries, as the pioneers in prohibiting all physical punishment of children. He said it would be very valuable, in the light of the Supreme Court’s decision, to have a clear statement from the Norwegian Government that it intended to introduce legislation to Parliament at the first opportunity to clarify that children do have equal protection under the law on assault and that no form of physical punishment is permitted. The Minister is working on reforms of the Criminal Law, but it worries me that we haven’t heard him say anything about this important issue for almost two years now. He does talk about other law issues.
One and a half week ago the politician Carl I. Hagen, former chairman of the Progress Party (a populist party) and now Vice-President of the Norwegian Parliament, and some other famous men said in newspaper interviews that they were spanked as children and that they were grateful for that towards their fathers. One of the men, the Labour Party politician Aslam Ahsan, runs a centre for Pakistani children in Oslo. They think parents should use “lighter forms” of physical punishment also today.
Futhermore I was shocked over debates on the Internet afterwards. More parents than I could have imagined, say physical punishment sometimes is necessary. In one newspaper which asked about the readers’ opinion, 46,5 per cent of 35 000 readers agreed with that idiot Mr. Hagen. I hate that cowardly, selfish man, who (mis)used this issue just a few days before his new autobiography was launched. Of course he got all the attention he wanted, but without offering a single thought about all the children he now has made insecure and frightened.
Even I, a grown-up, was deeply up-set. I trembled. The abused child I once was is tortured again. Fortunately, I managed to write articles on the Internet and a letter to the Minister. And I think I’ve also got more insight into the power of blindness in people refusing to feel the pain of their own childhood. This blindness is indeed frightening – and it can lead to anything, can’t it?
Yours sincerely, S. T., Oslo
AM: Why don’t you use my flyers to send them wherever you want in Norway? They are free.