So says this doctor, at least:
I remember in college taking a psychology class where the professor showed videos of monkeys that, shortly after birth, were raised in isolation and deprived of any physical contact. They often were prone to violence and would sit in the corner hugging themselves and rocking in obvious despair. When placed back in cages later in life with other socialized monkeys, they cowered in fear. It was heartbreaking and even to this day, it is one of the most distressing films I have ever seen.
Over the years in ER, there are many things that have distressed me, horrible things that wake me up at night. Images of parents hugging the dead body of a their child so tight you are certain a truck could not pull them apart. But the sick notion that hugging is anything other than a form of affection meant to comfort, thank, appreciate, love, or welcome another tops it all. The stupidity of our bosses, school administrators, educators, and oversensitive idiots who think there is something abusive or sexist in the act is beyond description. Oh sure, I know I’ve seen the hyped-up news stories of some teacher or coach, or mother’s ex-boyfriend, who took advantage a child and even robbed them of their innocence. Yes, it’s horrible. Sure, there may be some perverse secondary gain some fringe sicko might find in the act. Certainly we must always work to prevent that. But you can’t tell me that this fear should justify the creation of any policy that regulates an act of comfort and affection especially when that policy bans it all together.