By Morgan Adderley
Tribune Staff Reporter
POLICE are investigating the circumstances behind a video circulating on social media of a young girl being beaten for allegedly coming home late.
Police said the girl and a parent have been identified.
Over the course of the one-minute, 30-second video, the girl is punched in the head, beaten with a belt, and struck with a stick by an older woman.
The video was posted in a local Facebook group, but has since gone viral and has been shared on international pages, including Media Take Out, where it received over 164,000 views and 8,600 shares up to press time.
At the beginning of the clip, the girl, still partially in her school uniform, is backed into a corner.
At first, she is standing and using her arms to protect her head from the belt. She can be heard screaming: “I can’t take these waps (sic)!”
At another moment, she is on the floor, and being struck about the arms and legs with a stick. Eventually the woman drags her out of the corner, climbs over the girl, and begins punching her in the head.
“I sorry,” the girl can be heard sobbing.
The person recording the video can be heard shouting, “You wan’ come home 10; after 10 in the night?” and “Ya think ya is woman?! Goin’ by man (sic)!”
The person recording the video adds: “People helping you, loving up on you. Ya get lunch money, clean clothes on ya skin, everyday ya have something to eat. And this what you wan’ do? You wan’ go with man? Learn ya education!”
In all there are nearly 40 blows with either the leather belt, stick or the woman’s fist, all the while the girl trying to protect herself.
National Security Minister Marvin Dames addressed the video yesterday. While speaking to reporters outside Parliament, he admitted that he had seen it and referred the matter to the police.
“The police, if they’re investigating it, I’m certain the commissioner is very much aware of it and so we’ll see what they come out with.
“At the end of the day, we cannot, no matter what, we cannot condone abuse.”
When asked if he would classify the woman’s actions as abuse, or whether it was simply part of Bahamian culture as some social media users tried to argue, Mr Dames said: “I’m not going to speak to that particular matter because obviously the police will have a look at it, and I don’t want to in any way prejudice their investigations.
“But it points certainly to a fact that we have challenges within our homes with parenting as well as with relationships and we have to find the most humane way to address those issues.
“And this is what we’re doing with programmes like Citizen Security and programmes that you will see through Social Services, coming from the Ministry of Youth, and National Security as well.”
“We have to work with building families. It’s as simple as that.”
Yesterday, Supt Shanta Knowles said police were in the early stages of the investigation.
“The young girl and a parent has been identified,” Supt Knowles said. “Police are in the early stages of this investigation and as information becomes available, updates will be given.”
Education Minister Jeff Lloyd also acknowledged the video and said officials are investigating.
Up to press time, the video posted in the Facebook group had been shared hundreds of times.
Responses varied, with many Facebook users condemning the beating. Some even referring to it as “abuse” and called for it to be reported to Social Services.
Some said the beating was warranted, and likened it to their own childhood experiences.
Others said the punishment was fine but criticised the fact that it was recorded and posted on social media.
Yesterday, Facebook had a warning label over the video, telling users that it “may show violence against a child or teenager.” The message also says: “We haven’t removed it from Facebook because it may help rescue the child in question.”