Photos : Dervla Baker and Sarah Jayne Booth

This will not be Pretty

In April and May 2020, at the beginning of Ireland’s first lockdown, Gardaí reported a 25% increase in domestic violence calls. These statistics reflect an international trend with the pandemic creating a perfect storm that triggered an unprecedented wave of domestic violence. In response to this global trend Sarah Jayne created a new body of work along with r. a. g. e. collective. ‘This will not be Pretty’ is 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.”

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