A six-minute video uploaded on Facebook seems to have divided a nation.
In it, a mother of four from Trinidad and Tobago is seen whipping her daughter with a belt.
Mrs Helen Bartlett was upset that her daughter had posted explicit pictures of herself on the social media site and decided to teach her a lesson.
In the video, the 12-year-old is seen cowering in fear and whimpering in pain, Mail Online reported.
The clip, which was uploaded last week, has been shared about 45,000 times. Some viewers justified the mother's actions while others called it child abuse.
The Jamaica Observer reported that Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development has called on parents to use "non-physical forms of discipline".
Last Wednesday, Mrs Bartlett's daughter and her sister uploaded another video in response to the controversy. The girls said Mrs Bartlett was a good mother who wanted to protect her child from teenage pregnancy.
In an interview with a radio station, the mother said she was "prepared to go to jail" to bring her wayward young daughter back on the right path, Trinidad Express reported.
Ms Bartlett said that since the girl's father left them, the child has been unmanageable.
What sparked the brutal beating was a salacious text message exchange between the daughter and a boy her age, who was trying to convince her to have sex with him. She then accessed her daughter's Facebook profile and discovered photos of the girl posing "seductively" in her underwear.
Mrs Bartlett said her worst fear is that she will either come home pregnant or end up dead on the streets.
Her daughter said: "I am very sorry for bringing shame on you (her mum) and the family. I know you love me dearly. And I love you dearly, too."
This article was published on April 27 in The New Paper.
Get The New Paper for more stories.