My Big Bear Story
My Big Bear Story
A domestic violence conversation starter
Over the weekend I attended the Zonta Club of Bundaberg’s, International Women’s Day event. At this event we were made aware of some of the frightening statistics in relation to domestic violence against women and children not only here in Australia but around the World. These statistics struck a cord with me as last week I received a copy of a book named My Big Bear Story. This is a children’s picture book that has been developed to be used by Counsellors or Teachers to open up the conversation about domestic violence and personal safety.
The topic of domestic violence is finally starting to break through some social barriers and speaking out against it is growing in momentum. I know that we are all aware that domestic violence is a big issue but when you are told that one women dies every week in Australia as a result of domestic violence it really hits home.
My Big Bear Story is the result of local organisation Creative Regions’, 2014 Anti-Domestic Violence Campaign. They have together with Counsellors from UnitingCare Community and Phoenix House created this wonderful book. The book was developed using Counsellors worksheets from sessions with young children. These worksheets captured the physical and emotional feelings the children felt when confronted with dangerous or violent situations. A steering group together with local author Cherie Curtis and illustrator Jacqui Read interpreted the children’s responses to produce this book. My Big Bear Story is designed to start conversations with young people about their safety, how they feel and who to turn to.
The time frame this cycle takes to complete varies but usually accelerates as the relationship between the parties worsens.
My Big Bear Story introduces the concept of the cycle of violence and highlights the behaviour of the abuser and the types of feelings the victim may feel at various stages of the cycle. It is a great representation of how the behaviour of ‘Big Bear’ can quickly change into ‘Scary Bear’, and how the feelings of ‘Happy Bear’ change during the course of the cycle. The author does all this in language that is appropriate for children from 6 years of age.
I do not think this book should be limited to use by Teachers and Counsellors. I think that every parent should read this story to their child and start having a conversation as to what domestic violence is. Our children are not always in our charge and I think it is important for all children to be able to recognise and understand that if they ever find themselves in a domestically violent situation that they have the tools in place to find help. I think this book is the perfect conversation starter and education tool to explain the cycle of violence to any young child. I would hope that by being made aware of this issue we may stop them from becoming victims later in life. I think this is they type of book that you should read with your child on a yearly basis to keep the conversation going.
I do not think that a parent should use this book without the guidance of a Counsellor if they suspect that their child has been subjected to domestic violence. I think this book should be used as a preventative education tool and not one to be used after the event by someone who is not trained in this area.
If you are a Counsellor or Teacher there is a very thorough education package which includes curriculum alignment information as well as activities that accompany the book. The education package can be downloaded HERE. Parents may also find some of the information contained in the education package helpful. The book can be purchased online through Creative Regions for $14.95.
I have to say a huge congratulations to Creative Regions. This is a wonderful locally produced and printed resource that they should be so proud of. We at Wide Bay Kids love supporting local Community Organisations just like Creative Regions. If you know of any other Community Organisations doing great work like Creative Regions have done here, please send us an email at email@example.com so we can spread the good word.
Where to go if you need help:
If you are in immediate danger, call 000
Edon Place Bundaberg – A crisis service providing crisis accommodation and support to women and children living with domestic violence as well as referrals to other agencies as required. A Child Support Worker also provides support and assistance to children of women living with domestic violence. Phone 4153 1556.
Phoenix House Bundaberg – Providing a child centred and family focused programme for children and young people who have been sexually and/or physically abused, or witnessed domestic violence, and support for non-offending family members and carers. Phone 4153 4299.
Uniting Care Community – 41538400
Relationships Australia – 1300364277
White Ribbon – 1800737732
Lifeline – 131114
Centacare – 1300523985
Mensline Australia – 1300789978