A North Carolina-based mother is facing misdemeanor child abuse charges after she allegedly instructed her 12-year-old son to "beat the gay away" from his older brother, 15.
As local news outlet WECT TV6 reports, Whiteville police were summoned to the home of Mary Gowans on Aug. 24. When they arrived, there were "several people yelling and screaming," according to a police report cited in the report.
Gowans is alleged to have made her 15-year-old son strip down to his underpants while instructing his younger brother to strike him repeatedly with a belt, according to WITN. Gowans, however, denies those charges, even though she told reporters that her younger son did hit his older sibling, but that the older had hit the younger one first.
Gowans also told reporters that she believes her older son is gay "in some way," and that he has been visiting an older gay man who she heard had molested him. She said she tried to contact authorities with regard to the alleged sexual abuse, but nothing has yet been done.
Last year, a pastor in Fayetteville, N.C. sparked controversy after he urged his congregation to attack their children if they appear to be exhibiting behavior outside of gender norms, Good as You's Jeremy Hooper first reported.
Sean Harris, senior pastor of Fayetteville's Berean Baptist Church, later said he "would never ever advocate" hitting a child, but nonetheless defended his belief in the need to reinforce traditional gender roles in children.