Response to a critic
By Jordan Riak, October 6, 2007

A few minutes after doing a radio interview with CFRB Toronto, I received the following e-mail:

I can not believe that you believe in what you are saying or your stretched comparisons !!!!! When you finally land onto planet earth perhaps your opinion will change. Stay off the valium


I follow a general rule to ignore such letters. I just shift them from the Inbox to a folder marked "Hostile," and move on. But this time, I couldn't resist.

Dear Concerned,

Evidently the amount of time you spent on was just long enough to find my e-mail address.

As for "planet earth," I suggest you take a closer look. You'll see that 20 nations have modernized their laws so that statutory protection against assault and battery applies to all persons irrespective of age. They have wisely closed spankers' legal loophole. Listed with their respective dates of reform, they are: Sweden - 1979, Finland - 1983, Norway - 1987, Austria - 1989, Cyprus - 1994, Italy -1996, Denmark - 1997, Latvia - 1998, Croatia - 1999, Bulgaria - 2000, Germany - 2000, Israel - 2000, Iceland - 2003, Ukraine - 2004, Romania - 2004, Hungary - 2005, Greece - 2007, Netherlands - 2007, New Zealand - 2007, and Portugal - 2007. Portugal was the most recent. It outlawed spanking on September 15, 2007 with the following amendment to the Penal Code: Article 152 -- "Whoever repeatedly, or not, inflicts physical or psychological ill-treatment, including corporal punishment, deprivation of liberty and sexual offences, is punished with 1 to 5 years of imprisonment. "

If you keep your eyes on planet earth, you'll probably see South Africa join the above list any day now. Their National Assembly is debating the spanking question at this moment. It looks promising (from my point of view). It's worth noting that the number of countries that have decided that prohibiting spanking was a mistake and have rescinded the ban is ZERO.

Meanwhile, back at home, the government of the United States stands almost alone in its failure to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child which, among other things, condemns corporal punishment. Somalia, which does not have much of a government to speak of, is the only other holdout. 193 nations have ratified the CRC.

Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir., Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE); Web site: "Project NoSpank" at; PTAVE, P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507 US; Tel: 925-831-1661; FAX: 925-838-8914


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