This will not be Pretty: Cork-based Feminist Collective Respond to the Systemic Crisis of Domestic Violence
In April and May 2020, at the beginning of Ireland’s first lockdown, Gardaí reported a 25% increase in domestic violence calls. This statistic reflects an international trend with the pandemic creating a perfect storm that triggered an unprecedented wave of domestic violence. In response to this global trend, the Cork-based feminist collective r. a. g. e. developed ‘This will not be Pretty’, a multi-faceted art project in association with OSS Cork Domestic Violence Resource Centre and Cuanlee Refuge.
The ambitious project puts individual stories to the statistics and is a timely reminder of the barriers faced by victims of domestic abuse, predominantly women, in their efforts to seek justice. “Positive outcomes for victims are hard-won,” according to Deborah O’Flynn of OSS, acknowledging a gap exists between what is expected of the law and the reality in practice. “You are more likely to get a prison sentence if you don’t pay your television licence than if you violate a maintenance or barring order. And that is soul destroying for clients who want justice, and we have to tell them to temper their expectations.” Artist and r. a. g. e. member Sarah Jayne Booth points out, “the overwhelming takeaway from our engagement with Cork OSS and Cuanlee caseworkers was the time and financial resources it takes to seek justice with adjournment after adjournment often draining the funds and stamina of victims.”
‘This will not be Pretty’ includes a choreographed performance featuring performer Katrina Foley with accompanying soundscape by Dr Honor Tuohy videoed alongside an installation of new work by artist Sarah-Jayne Booth. The performance will coincide with a two-week exhibition at Kopper Hair Salon. The final element of the project is a publication of feminist writings with contributions from feminist ethnographer Dr Eve Olney, lawyer Fíona Ní Léime, artist Sarah-Jayne Booth and legal academic and musician Dr Honor Tuohy.
All events will launch simultaneously on 16th September 2021. The video installation and recorded performance will launch online at 7pm – see www.weragetogether.com for further details. The exhibition at Kopper Hair Salon, 3 Half Moon St, Cork will be displayed in the salon window and viewable to the public from 16 – 27 Sept 2021. The project is made possible with a bursary from Cork City Council Arts Office and kindly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Kopper Hair Salon.
Cork OSS offer advice and support to victims of domestic abuse. Freephone helpline 1800 497 497 & Cuanlee Refuge provides safe and secure crisis accommodation for women and children 021 4277698
r. a. g. e. (Realising•Absolute•Gender•Equality) is a feminist collective established in 2020 with members Sarah Jayne Booth, Dr Eve Olney, Dr Honor Tuohy and Fíona Ní Léíme working collaboratively on issues of patriarchal structures within society with the current project focusing on domestic violence and the justice system.