Reading these horrifying and disgusting accounts makes me realise I got off lightly.
My dad would smack us with his hand and sometimes a slipper or sometimes a cane, Only once do I recall being bruised but I made sure he knew he had done that and have never forgiven him for it.
I suppose I should be thankful that he never hit out randomly and never punched or kicked or anything like that. He did not use physical punishment that much and I don't remember enduring being hit that many times.
This was in the 1970s and society in general was quite alright with hitting kids as a punishment so I don't blame him for being a product of the culture he was in however I do blame him for not having the common sense and simple humanity to see through it and change his choice of behaviour.
I regret to say that when I became a parent I did smack my first child on three or four occasions with my hand. I bitterly regretted it and it very quickly dawned on my that I had to find another way. For one, what was I, a grown man, doing hitting a small child? Secondly, what was I teaching my child - on the one hand teaching them to be non-violent whilst using violence on them? Thirdly, where would this go as they grew up - at some point I would have to stop using smacking as a control mechanism so what would I do then?
No amount of reasoning could mitigate for my actions. I had only done it a very few times. I had never done "six of the best", just once or twice. It had not been with anywhere near the ferocity of what I had experienced. I had not lashed out. This was all just meaningless when contrasted with the idiocy of smacking.
The worst thing was the whole "not doing it anger" bulls***. Great - you've not lashed out and punched your kid. Instead you've calmed down then quite happily got angry enough again (and no parent just hits when they are calm) to decide to hit your kid. What utter nonsense.
I still see Witness parents using physical punishment. I note the organisation has moderated it's "counsel" on the subject but has not made any statement to say that smacking is wrong and should not be done in any circumstance. At some point I hope they will make this clear as there are still plenty of parents who can't see to work it out for themselves.