As MicheLee Puppets celebrates our 30th anniversary in 2015, we celebrate the life-changing performances and educational programs that have impacted 1.9 million children and youth. Puppets have been used for centuries to educate, to inspire, and to promote social change. MicheLee Puppets carries on this tradition as we partner with social service agencies to deliver empowering messages on issues that are critical to the health and well being of young people. Domestic violence is one of those issues.
A new ad campaign by the Salvation Army features “the dress” in white and gold on a badly bruised woman. The ad asks “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?” This campaign follows a rash of media attention on domestic violence; especially following alleged incidents in the NFL.
While most of the discussion has been about violence to women, find we should also be aware that domestic violence is an issue that affects children profoundly. Children living in homes where violence is present are at increased risk for sexual and physical abuse. A study by Kaufman and Henrich (2000) estimates that about 40% of children who witness domestic violence are also physically abused. Mothers who are victims of domestic violence are also more likely to physically and/or emotionally abuse their children than mothers who are not in violent relationships (Lutenbacher, Cohen, & Conner, 2004). These children often suffer from emotional problems such as higher levels of aggression and anger, disobedience, fear, anxiety, withdrawal, depression and poor social relationships and self-esteem.
In 2010, MicheLee Puppets partnered with Central Florida domestic violence shelter, Harbor House, and Dr. Phillips Charities to create Little Heroes. Our puppet play told the story of a brother and sister dealing with the consequences of abuse against their mother. They became the heroes of the story when they confided in a teacher and got help. The impact of this play on one little boy was immediate. After our show, the student reported to his teacher that his mom’s boyfriend was in jail for beating her up. His sister had called 911, and he was living in fear that the man would come and hurt them when he was released from jail. Because this boy was empowered through our puppet show to report, his family was able to connect with Harbor House, which helped them create a safety plan to prevent further violence.
We can all help stop domestic violence by getting involved. Here are 16 Ways to Stop Domestic Violence in Your Community.