Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic and impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security. Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women.
Physical. Sexual. Psychological. Economic. Violence against women takes many forms and affects women from childhood to old age. The roots of violence against women lie in persistent discrimination against women. Women who experience violence suffer a range of health problems and their ability to participate in society is diminished. This violence does not observe distinctions of culture, religion, race or age. It harms families, communities across generations and reinforces other violence prevalent
So how do we address this in the library? There are several books available that can help approach these sensitive subjects with our young patrons on both an individual level and as a global issue.
I like that these books use animals as characters rather than people. I think that it allows young readers to distance themselves from frightening situations without taking away any of the impact and validity of the situations described.
A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M. Holmes
Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous and had bad dreams. Then he met someone who helped him talk about the terrible thing, and made him feel better.
Holmes has written a book that doesn't pretend that thing will go back to the way they were, but instead lets the reader know that many emotions can result from a tragedy such as anger, sadness, fear and that acting out can result when these emotions are hidden or ignored. Finding someone to talk to can help. There is also some information for caregivers at the end. We never learn what the terrible thing that happened to Sherman is, making this book relatable for all kinds of situations: bullying, divorce, abuse, death, accident, crime, and so on.
On a Dark, Dark Night by Sara B. Pierce
A bear cub sees his father strike his mother. He runs away, and is comforted by his friend Moose, who brings in another friend, Eagle. Eagle, taking on the role of the police officer, goes to the father bear and talks to him. Eagle brings him before the animal council, which Pierce calls “the animals’ version of our judicial system.” The council decides that the father bear can no longer stay in the village. Several seasons pass, the father returns, and he and the mother bear begin to talk about whether he can return home or whether he needs more time alone. The story leaves what happens next unsaid making the book suitable for a variety of situations.