Corporal punishment

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World map of the legal status of parental, school and judicial (including prison) corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment (abbreviation: cp or CP) is a form of punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of physical pain or discomfort. Most types of corporal punishment involve the methodical striking of the delinquent by a person in a position of authority. The words "corporal punishment" are derived from the Latin terms corpus ("body") and punire (akin to poena, which means "penalty" or "pain"), so "corporal punishment" can be taken to literally mean "punishment of the body" or "penalty (or pain) inflicted on the body".

Corporal punishment is distinguished from psychological punishment (e.g. humiliation), restrictive punishment (e.g. imprisonment), and economic punishment (e.g. fines).

In some definitions, corporal punishment may include amputation, mutilation and/or capital punishment, but these are not considered here.

Misunderstanding of the term[edit]

Geoffrey Gorer found in his 1955 study Exploring English Character that "the term 'corporal punishment' is quite consistently misunderstood to mean 'cruel or brutal punishments.' Numerous respondents write to the effect 'a naughty boy should be given a good caning but I don't approve of corporal punishment.' This misunderstanding was so consistent that I found it necessary to create a special category for it; at least one parent in six misuses the term."

Areas of corporal punishment[edit]

Corporal punishment is (or has been) used in many different areas of life:

Non-beating CP[edit]

Corporal punishment in most cases involves beating/slapping/spanking/whipping the delinquent's body with one's hand or a suitable implement. However there are also other methods to stimulate a person's nociceptors, causing physical pain. Some of these are used by adults to punish children, some are used among children themselves (e.g. pulling hair, pinching, boxing), and others are more common in adult/adult BDSM play.

These include:

Literature[edit]

See also[edit]