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Jacinta Sheerin reciting poetry for ‘Den of Iniquity: Behind Closed Doors - Poetry on Film’. Photograph by Paul Corey

Powerful words for action on violence against women

CLARE HAVEN Services has launched four “powerful hard hitting” poems on a short video as part of the annual 16 Days of Action on Violence Against Women campaign.

Den of Iniquity: Behind Closed Doors – Poetry on Film, is a collective of four short videos created by Paul Corey using the words of Feakle-based domestic abuse survivor, Liz Pouch, which were recited on camera by Ennistymon actor, Jacinta Sheeran.

This novel media production was unveiled by Clare Haven manager, Dr Siobhán O’Connor who welcomed the participants for what proved to be an emotionally charged session on Friday afternoon in their educational and administration building.

“It is a raw and gritty testimony of living through the horrors of abuse as both an adult and child. The films use the incredible acting skill of Jacinta Sheeran, who gave powerful recitations of the poems cutting to the heart of the pain and torment of the domestic abuse experience. The films can be viewed on Clare Haven’s YouTube Channel,” she said.

Ms Pouch said three of the videos are based on her own story and the fourth one is fictitious.

When the Feakle-based poet saw them she cried because of the reality behind them and the fact Jacinta Sheeran had presented it so well.

“Jacinta did a powerful job. Hopefully, it will encourage someone in a similar situation to realise they are being abused and reach out to get help. It is important no one suffers abuse in silence.”

Born and raised in Inchicore, Ms Pouch left the capital in 1999 and has lived in Clare for the last 12 and a half years -six years in Bodyke and the last six and a half in her current Feakle home.

The 58-year-old was sexually, physically and mentally abused when she was very young by her father, who died in 2000.

After leaving home at the age of 17, she was abused physically and mentally by her father, who was an alcoholic in his younger days. When her father found religion, she recalled he became fanatical, asking strangers who came into the house to join him in reciting the rosary.

This was followed by guilt for the abuse he had carried out and the extra marital affairs. She said that he also abused her mother physically and sexually.

As a coping mechanism, she started writing poetry at a young age about various topics including the abuse, which she has continued throughout her life.

Paul Corey described the poetry was “powerful, hard-hitting, raw and explicit”. Having discussed the project with Ms Pouch, Paul recalled he commissioned Jacinta Sheeran to recite the poetry in his Ennis studio directly to camera.

“Jacinta gives the words in the poems a lot of weight and meaning in her performance, which makes them so powerful. Liz talks about sexual abuse when she was a child.

“Our aim is that someone will listen to the poetry and realise I am in this situation and need to escape from it.”

Clare Haven Services works to protect women and children who are already being subjected to abuse and violence in the home by providing frontline services such as refuge, outreach support and advocacy in the legal and judicial systems.

It also tries to prevent this abuse happening to future women and children through public awareness and education and provide interventions by delivering resilience programmes, inter-agency collaboration and relevant counselling services.

It couldn’t do this work without their statutory and other funders but more particularly without the generous donations of the people from the county, which are crucial to its viability.

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