‘Never going to beat you’ – new Traveller led play about domestic violence

 

30 March 2016 / Josie O'Driscoll

Gypsy and Traveller Women will be putting their acting skills to the test in June 2016 when they will take to the stage to highlight issues around Domestic abuse. The Traveller Movement have been successful in getting funding for a woman’s drama group and rehearsals are under way with the cast of GTR women.

Never going to beat you will be a community theatre production, and will be performed by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women, supported by The Traveller movement (TM) and Solace Womens Aid. The play was written by playwright Jenny Buchman from Giants Theatre Company and is based on issues around domestic violence within Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Domestic violence and abuse is an issue for a large number of Gypsy and Traveller women in the UK; a 2007 study found that 81% of Irish Traveller women and 61% of English Gypsy women in married relationships had directly experienced domestic abuse. Discussing violence within marriage is far too often seen as a no-go subject.

Many Travellers have traditional views on marriage, with divorce a rarity, and a woman leaving a marriage can be ostracised. A reluctance to deal with the police, coupled with a lack of knowledge about mainstream services, may also complicate the situation. For Gypsy and Traveller woman who live a nomadic life, or who have lived on sites all their lives, moving into a refuge can lead to isolation, anxiety, depression caused by leaving your life and family behind. This can be a daunting experience, so Gypsy and Traveller women often stay in the violent situation for longer.

A spokesperson from the Traveller Movement said:

“As part of its development work, TM aims to use drama as a means for women to explore these issues around DA and to increase awareness and understanding, within both communities and service providers.

We aim to show outcomes as well as be faithful to the reality of DA, the outcome from this production will be greater awareness of the realities of DA, for Community members both participating in the project and watching the performance. The more it is talked about and made open, the greater the chances of change for the better

This play can be shown to GTR communities as well as service providers to begin a wider conversation about the realities of DV within these communities. The approach needs to be sensible, and it needs to be different, attitudes in the community are changing. More Travelling women than ever are seeking help. More mothers are willing to assist their daughters in leaving violent relationships. Woman feel more empowered; change is coming.

It’s been a privilege to be involved in this project we’ve had tears and laughter along the way, we will hopefully be on tour in June to help us celebrate GRT history month and we would love to have you all there.”

The play will be dedicated to Elizabeth O’ Sullivan (a member of the Drama group) who sadly passed away on the 7th March 2016. RIP Elizabeth.  

24-hour National Domestic Violence
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