After choosing my children book and editing the text to create the best story, with the narrative and the conceptual side in mind, my story took a turn down the route of domestic abuse. I then looked into this subject and the way that it effects and is taught to children.
Domestic Abuse is a huge problem in todays society, it is an epidemic that I very hard to resolve. According to the ‘Living without abuse’ help and support page, 1 in 4 women will be abused in their life time, an average of 2 women per week will be murdered by their abuser in the UK, domestic abuse accounts for 16% of all violent crime in England and Wales and is still the least likely crime to be reported. Domestic violence has more repeat victims that any other crime, it is the most quoted reason for homelessness, 400 people commit suicide per year within 6 months of visiting a hospital for domestic abuse related injuries and 200 of them commit suicide the same day as their hospital visit. It is clear that domestic abuse is one of societies biggest problems, but I was confused as to how it was so common, how do so many people become abusers and who is teaching them to be this way?
After doing some research I realised that we are all taught to abuse as children. Of course this is not the intention of parents, but from a very young age they are teaching children of both genders to be abused/ be an abuser. As young girls we are taught that if a boy is mean to you he likes you, and when a boy destroys your things or hurts you that ‘boys will be boys’. In doing this we not only teach boys that their actions and words are ok, but more importantly we teach girls that it is ok to be treated like this. We are also taught that girls are the weaker sex, giving boys a sense of empowerment and strength over girls and in turn loosing the respect they should have for women. Dr Michael Flood, a senior lecturer in Sociology at Wollongong University said, “For many young people, male aggression is expected and normalised, there is constant pressure among boys to behave in sexually aggressive ways, girls are routinely objectified, there is a sexual double standard, and girls are pressured to accommodate male ‘needs’ and desires.” “Attitudes are crucial to shaping wider social norms and cultures.” “Boys are taught in subtle ways to push past girls’ resistance, that women are good for only one thing. This is reinforced by the media and by pornography, which is easily accessible to young people, and treats sexuality as violent and violence as sexy.” Not only are boys taught as children that girls are weaker, in sayings like ‘don’t throw like a girl’ or ‘stop being girl’ if he is upset or emotional, but as they grow into preteen and teenage years this is reinforced in the media. Girls are sexualised by the media too often by men, not just in platforms such as pornography but in mainstream media. In advertising and media women are often portrayed as a prize for men, they are just bodies there to for fill a mans needs. So after all this how do we expect men to treat women, and how do we expect women to stand up fro them selves when all through our lives we have been taught that we are weaker?
Within this unit I have been working with children’s books to raise modern day issues, and I have taken text out of a ‘Peter and Jane’ story book to manipulate the story into one of domestic abuse within a family. I want this to represent the way we teach children that domestic abuse is normal and more importantly that it is ok. I want the book to follow a story of abuse, emotional and physical, and show the effects it has on children.