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Beatings - Torture Methods in History

Updated on December 16, 2017
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Torture is nothing new. It has been around since nearly the beginning of time. If someone wanted something, they were willing to hurt others to get it. Some got creative, but beating someone is easy to do with anything including your own body. That meant it was a basic form of torture that was used.

Beatings are some of the most common as well as the easiest forms of torture that has been used in history. This form has been used since the beginning of time as it can be very productive and not require special equipment. Various groups have used it to further their cause. Some have been with good intentions while others...not so good.

Purpose of Torture

When one thinks of torture, images of the rack and other dungeon torture pieces of equipment come to mind. Those instruments were used, but plain old beatings have out lasted all modes of torture down through the years.

Torture has generally been used for political motives, wartime actions, religious purposes, and revenge. Beatings as a form of torture was done with ones hands or with another object yielded by those same hands. It is the goal of beating the body to get what one desired.

Political Beatings

Reports of beating have been seen in history since history was recorded. Politically, beatings might have been given as a warning to vote a particular direction or pass certain laws. Beatings were used mainly as a means of delivering a message which typically was received loud and clear.

Politically, beatings could also be just because someone was angry and not because of a specific desire to inflict torture. This happened more than you would think between those that ran countries. One particular example was between two United States congressmen in the early 1800s by the name of Preston Brooks and Charles Sumner. In this incident, tempers got out of control. Torture was not the intent.

Break Them

During war, beatings could occur as punishment to those captured or used as torture to extract information. This was a common practice to use fists, pipes, pieces of wood, or any other object to inflict pain on a person. The goal was to reach the person’s breaking point where they would give up their country, their leaders, and even their own family to save their lives.

Important information has been obtained during war by the use of beatings used as a method of torture. There is only so much pain a human can bear. That is what many hoped to reach so they could extract information.

Religious Beatings

During severe religious persecutions, beatings could be found but most that inflicted the pain preferred more creative and painful ways. Beatings would have been reserved for instances when torture had to be inflicted quickly and at any time. There were many times that religious leaders used such harsh treatment.

No one likes pain. We all want to avoid it. Those administrating the beatings use that to their advantage. A person will admit to anything to stop the pain. Even if the admissions are lies, pain can lead people to admit anything.

Tools for Beating

Over the centuries, there have been a number of tools used but the variations have not been that extreme. Most use fists as they are always present and easy to use. Use of fists allow the beating to happen anywhere at any time. There just needed to be someone strong enough to make it painful.

Sticks, wooden instruments have been used as well as metal ones as civilizations advanced. Anything that could be easy wielded by an individual could be used in beating a person.

Human Rights

As a form of torture, beating someone up has been the most common method used throughout history. It is one of the oldest forms still used today. Many reports have been found in every country in the world of prisoners being beaten as a form of punishment or to retrieve information. It is one of the least creative methods, but historically it has proven itself to work.

It is also one of the easiest. Anyone can technically do it. There is no real art form. Historically, it has been effective, but is illegal in most places. The exceptions are when ruling groups use it with no one to take a stand against it.

There are many groups today who take a stand against organized torture, including beatings. Some are local while others reach around the globe. Their goals are to change how cultures are when they hurt other people. Many seek to rid governments and religious institutions from using beatings as a punishment or a way to torture. In many areas, they have been successful, but they have a long road ahead of them.


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