A video showing a mother from Trinidad and Tobago whipping her 12-year-old daughter with a belt for sharing sexually explicit photos of herself on Facebook has gone viral, sparking a national conversation in the island nation about corporal punishment.
Last Sunday, a video was posted on Facebook showing Helen Bartlett, a mother of four from Point Fortin, beating her sobbing daughter while hurling profanities at her.
The six-minute clip, which depicts Ms Bartlett raining blows on the 12-year-old girl, who whimpers in pain and cowers from the belt, has been shared more than 43,000 times online.
On Wednesday, Bartlett’s daughter and her older sister uploaded another video in response to the controversy, expressing support for their mother.
Looking into the camera, the two girls said Bartlett was a good mother who wanted to protect her child from teenage pregnancy, or worse.
When Helen Bartlett was interviewed by a local radio station earlier this week, the woman declared she was ‘prepared to go to jail’ to set her wayward young daughter on the right path, Trinidad Express reported.
Asked if she regretted her actions, Ms Bartlett, who has three girls and a boy, said she stood by her mode of discipline, but she was sorry that the video intended to shame her 12-year-old has gained such notoriety.
Ms Bartlett explained that since the girl’s father, a police officer, left them, the child has been unmanageable.
The single mother added that she has exhausted all avenues trying to keep her daughter on the straight and narrow, including seeking counselling for her.
And according to Ms Bartlett, the 12-year-old’s father has been of no help, telling the girl that he wanted nothing to do with her.