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American author and friend of Bangladesh dies

Sir Frank Peters :: Foreign friend of Bangladesh, author, and staunch opponent of corporal punishment, Prof. Murray A. Straus, has died. He was 89.

Dr. Straus, Emeritus of Sociology and Co-Director, Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, was an internationally influential sociologist and founder of the field of family violence research. His surveys established that people were far more likely to be assaulted and injured by members of their own family than they were by strangers, fundamentally changing popular and academic conceptions about crime and crime prevention.

He found that corporal punishment increased the probability of many negative effects that parents worldwide hope would never happen to their children, including: aggression, a weaker bond between parent and child, lower IQ, antisocial behaviour and delinquency, depression, and that punishment in childhood makes kids more prone to serious illness and boosts their risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and asthma.

In his top selling book Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence, and Crime (Routledge, 2013) he emphasized that corporal punishment of children has dire serious consequences.

Prof. Straus was among the first to applaud Bangladesh in 2011, when Justice Md. Imman Ali and Justice Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif outlawed corporal punishment in schools and madrassas and expressed agreement with the honourable justices when they said corporal punishment was ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom’.

He was an energetic and prolific scholar, authoring a total of 15 books and hundreds of scholarly articles. His wife, Dorothy Dunn Straus, his children by a previous marriage, Carol Straus and Dr. John Straus, his stepchildren David Dunn and wife Kathy, Lisa Dunn, Thomas Dunn and wife Linda, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren survive him.

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