Launch Smarty Pants
Smarty Pants, Kitty or Tiger? is a book that has been written by Sr Nicole Rotaru using the stories and artwork of women and children at McAuley's crisis program, McAuley Care. The women and children were participating in the Creative Arts Project and gave voice to their experiences of family violence.
Today, Liana Buchanan, Victoria's Commissioner for children and young People launched Smarty Pants, Kitty or Tiger? at the State Library of Victoria. Liana also wrote a forward for the book and here is an extract:
We are also starting to acknowledge that for too long children have been silent, invisible victims of family violence. We know children are affected by violence at home in myriad ways. We know children need access to specialised attention and services to help them to deal with, recover from, the impacts of violence. We know we must do better at supporting children and young people living with family violence.
Image to the left is (left to right) Sr Nicole Rotura, Jocelyn Bignold and Liana Buchanan.
Smarty Pants, Kitty or Tiger? gives a first hand, intimate, disturbing, and sometimes hopeful insight into living within family violence. In this book women and children who have lived within family violence give voice to their experience through art and story as part of a creative arts project at McAuley Community Services for Women’s safe house.
This book was developed to give people, young and old, a greater understanding of the impact of family violence on women and children. We hope, through an understanding of the lived experience of family violence and an awareness of its many manifestations, that as a society we will continue to come to grips with its shocking reality.
Family violence is a crime. Family violence thrives in silence.
These brave, resilient women and children have spoken loudly through their images and stories. Lindy exclaims, “He had his hands around my neck. I thought I was going to die. Oh my gosh today is the day I will become a statistic – another woman killed!” David says, “There are a lot of baddies coming.” Ella utters, “Tiger is looking at a deer or elk. He’s going to catch his prey. He’s going to tear it apart.”
We must listen to these women and children. They are telling us about the fear and threat that family violence is. Their voices are a powerful guide to the ongoing development of policies and practices that create, promote and sustain a safe community for us all. As we look at the images and read the unedited stories let’s stand up and say ‘No!’ to family violence.
Thanks to the Campbell Edwards Trust, Mercy Foundation and Institute of Sisters of Mercy Australia and Papua New Guinea for their support of this project.
Here are two reviews:
Chief Commissioner, Victoria Police
This book gives an insight into the lived experience of family violence of some very courageous and resilient women and children. Too often, and often too long, their voices have been silenced. In turn, silence has played a part in enabling people to ignore this important issue. Victoria Police responds to over 600 family violence calls each day. Children are not passive witnesses to this violence; they absorb what is going on; and are deprived of the wellbeing everyone should feel in their home. As a community we need to critically challenge ourselves about family harm. Listening to the voices of those who have been impacted is one way we can start
The voices of those affected by family violence need to be heard. It is also important for children to be encouraged to express their feelings safely – they are the most powerless. Being forced to keep the traumatic experience of family violence secret and surrounded by shame does not allow us to grow, shine or move forward to achieve our true potential. This book will help give invaluable insight to those who seek to understand.