If it was against the law to beat the shit out of your kids with a belt, EVERYONE in the bible belt would be in jail.
totally illegal in australia... basically anything other than a light smack with *hand only* (absolutely no weapon of any kind like a belt) would definitely get you charged with assault, no matter the kid's age.
...so i'm surprised to find this is 'legal' somewhere like the u.s.
In Australia she could have gone to a youth refuge or women's refuge and there's nothing her parents could have done to make her return home. In my state, she could have chosen to leave home as early as fourteen.
I think one reason why there might be more of an attitude in the US that children are the property of their parents to do with as they wish is because it seems like young people in the US acquire independent legal rights pretty much all at once at age 18, whereas here it's something which happens progressively over a period of years.
Our legal culture is very much based around protecting the vulnerable irrespective of their age. That beating a child with a belt is accepted and legal elsewhere is shocking to us - we can no more comprehend it than Americans can comprehend Sharia law.
Even just seeing so many people refer to getting "beatings" as children is chilling. It doesn't seem to be a matter of semantics either - nothing's given me the impression that people who are saying they got beatings as children mean that they got a slap on the bum with an open hand occasionally. And the stories about people getting beatings from their grandparents are doubly chilling - even if you believe that parents should be able to physically discipline their child within limits, why the hell would you extend that right to others.
For those not following the SA thread on this, Hillary posted a couple of days ago that her father has had addiction issues in the past, so it's likely that a shitload of his cases are now going to be reviewed.