For those of you who think hitting a child is always okay, you might want to read this story. You never know where physical violence, no matter how "well-intentioned," may go wrong. A father killed his 13-year-old daughter after slapping her in the face because of an argument over chores. Reportedly, the force of the blow ruptured an artery in her neck, which cut off oxygen to her brain.
It all started when Moussa Sidime, who lived in Quebec with his family and had never been in trouble with the law, heard his 13-year-old daughter, Noutene, backtalking him after he'd scolded her for missing some dirt in the carpets she was cleaning. A teen backtalking? Pretty standard. But Sidime didn't take it very well and slapped the teen twice in the face.
She then stumbled into another room and collapsed. Her father called 911 and the girl was rushed to the hospital. But after three days in a coma, she died. Her father was charged with aggravated assault causing death but pleaded down to involuntary manslaughter. That plus the fact that he had a spotless record means he will spend only 60 days in prison. The judge may have taken into account his age too: The father is 74. Additionally, the family rallied around him, with the girl's sister saying that her father only wanted what is best for her. She even said she was "extremely happy" with the light sentence!
No doubt the father had absolutely no idea that a slap could kill. I don't think any of us really think about that. Corporal punishment is considered standard in a lot of families -- even once a child gets older. No one thinks of what a rare consequence could be -- that you end up doing something much worse than you intended. But that can happen any time you get physical with anyone. Even just a push can lead to someone tripping, falling, and hitting his head on a rock and dying. Why would you risk it with your child? There are many other ways to punish and get your point across than to hit. Not to mention that the slaps must have been quite hard to cause such damage.
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This father is no doubt distraught and devastated at what happened. He will be punished for the rest of his life. But this light sentence sends the wrong message. It sends the message that corporal punishment is okay -- and if it leads to your child's death, oh well.
Sixty days in jail is what someone gets when they don't pay parking tickets or some other misdemeanor. This is not justice for this poor girl who lost her life to the person who should have been protecting her.
Do you think he deserved more time?
Image via CTV Montreal