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, the Daily Mail reports.
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 unsettling clip has left viewers divided, with some people justifying the mother's actions, while others calling it child abuse.
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.
What sparked the brutal beating last Sunday in the Bartletts’ apartment was a salacious text message exchange between the 12-year-old girl and a boy her age, who was trying to convince her to have sex with him.
After the mother read the messages, she accessed her underage daughter's Facebook profile and discovered photos of the girl posing 'seductively' in her underwear.
Helen Bartlett explained that while her child is pretty and intelligent, she has a low self-esteem and is susceptible to peer pressure.
Her worst fear is that if the 12-year-old continues down this road, one day she is either going to come home pregnant, or will end up dead on the streets.
‘I stand firmly by my decision. I will go to jail for it,’ the woman said. ‘I know people are saying the authorities should charge me for abuse.’
In her response video, the daughter said she knew her mother loves her dearly, and she reassured the viewers that has no intention of killing herself because she loves herself 'too much’, The Daily Mail said.