All female tattoo parlour  fundraise for Cork Sexual Violence Centre

As the 16 Days of Action campaign takes place this month, CHRIS DUNNE talks to staff at a tattoo parlour in Cork who are fundraising for Cork Sexual Violence Centre
All female tattoo parlour  fundraise for Cork Sexual Violence Centre

Owner/proprietor Lucia Dzurkova at Art Lab Tattoo. They are doing a fundraiser for the Sexual Violence Centre as part of the 16 Days of Action Against Violence in November. Picture: Larry Cummins

A TATTOO parlour with an all-female staff is lending its support to the 16 Days of Action Campaign by hosting a fundraising event for Cork Sexual Violence Centre.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Global 16 Days Campaign, which runs from November 25 to December 10.

On November 25 and 26, the Art Lab Tattoo Studio on Patrick’s Quay will be offering tattoos and body piercings at a reduced rate. The studio, that employs only women, is organising the two-day fundraiser for the Sexual Violence Centre Cork.

Klaudia Glowacka who looks after reception/front-of-house at Art Lab Tattoo. Picture: Larry Cummins
Klaudia Glowacka who looks after reception/front-of-house at Art Lab Tattoo. Picture: Larry Cummins

“We do a fundraiser here in the salon every year,” says Klaudia Glowacka, the receptionist and assistant to owner Lucia Deurkora, who opened Art Lab Studio in April, 2019.

“When Chloe, who does body piercing here, suggested that we support the Sexual Violence Centre, we were all for it. It is such a good cause. 

"Chloe got in touch with CEO Mary Crilly about the fundraiser and Mary was delighted. It worked out perfectly.”

Chloe says that the Sexual Violence Centre is an excellent charity that is accessible to everyone.

“It is an amazing charity and it is a pity that it doesn’t get more support as in fundraising, etc,” says Chloe.

People can also avail of delicious home-baking from Ainara Pedroso while supporting the Sexual Violence Centre on November 25 and 26.

“I run a bakery from my home,” says Ainara.

“And when the studio was organising the fund-raiser, I was really touched.

“When I was younger, at 19, in Madrid when I was studying, I had a horrible experience. It was a bit rough. I know what it’s like and it is good to have a place to go after such an experience. Nobody should be ashamed to ask for help and seek support and counselling.”

(Front) Lucia Dzurkova, owner/proprietor with the team (rear) Klaudia Glowacka (front of house), tattoo artists Karolina Bala, Pat Hynda, Anna Boccato and body piercer Chloe O'Donovan.
(Front) Lucia Dzurkova, owner/proprietor with the team (rear) Klaudia Glowacka (front of house), tattoo artists Karolina Bala, Pat Hynda, Anna Boccato and body piercer Chloe O'Donovan.

Ainara will have lots of goodies on offer at the studio on those days.

“I will bake cupcakes and doughnuts,” she says. “Some of the girls are vegetarian, so I will have options for everyone.”

Lucia says that sexual assault can occur in the industry in which she works.

“Sexual assault does happen in this industry and I want to say how important it is for victims to speak up and talk about it,” says Lucia. 

“We would advise people to get out of that situation as quickly as possible; the tattoo is the last thing people should worry about.

“By creating an all-female tattoo studio, we create a safe space for women who have had horrible experiences in the past or at any time of their lives. We are open to consult people about covering or finishing their tattoo for them if it reminds them of a difficult situation they might have been in,” says Lucia.

Art Lab is a vegan and eco-friendly studio.

“And we have replaced most of the single use of plastic to do our part for the planet.”

Art Lab is inclusive too.

“Most of our customers are female, but we also kindly welcome men in the Studio. We welcome LGBTQ. A lot of men that do come in here to get tattooed or pierced love the fact that it is all females working here and they cheer for us! 

"Some men ask us if we tattoo or pierce men and we say, of course we do! We are all inclusive and we treat everyone equally.

“It is extremely important to us that every customer that comes in is relaxed and comfortable.”

Owner/proprietor Lucia Dzurkova at Art Lab Tattoo. Picture: Larry Cummins
Owner/proprietor Lucia Dzurkova at Art Lab Tattoo. Picture: Larry Cummins

The customers are generous.

“We have already been getting donations for the Sexual Violence Centre fundraiser, which is absolutely amazing,” says Lucia. “We want to thank all the people for all the support.”

Everyone at the Studio is on board with the fundraiser.

“I’m happy to be able to chip in to support the Sexual Violence Centre,” says Pat Hynda, tattooist.

“What they stand for is very close to my heart. As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, I wish there were more resources and education available, especially for children.

“I hope we’ll get an enthusiastic response to our fundraiser as the work these women are doing is absolutely crucial.”

Anna Boccato, tattooist, says: “This industry can be tough for women. I met Lucia in another shop and we worked together for a couple of years. When Lucia opened her own shop I was very proud to see what she had created here in Art Lab. I followed her and started to work here two months after the opening. It is a place where I feel at home, even more than my own home most of the time!”

Tattoo artist Karolina Bala at work at Art Lab Tattoo studio. Picture: Larry Cummins
Tattoo artist Karolina Bala at work at Art Lab Tattoo studio. Picture: Larry Cummins

Karolina Bala agrees with Anna.

“I am very proud to work with such an amazing team,” says Karolina. 

“We all empower and support each other every day.”

The Art Lab Studio is looking forward to welcoming people to their studio for the fundraiser. There will be tattoos from €60 and body piercings from €30.

CEO of the Sexual Violence Centre Cork, Mary Crilly says the fundraiser by the Lab Art Tattoo Studio is a fantastic gesture that will help support the important services they provide.

“While we are very grateful for funding provided by Tulsa, it doesn’t cover all our costs; education, training and counselling. We really appreciate the fundraiser that the Lab Art Tattoo Studio is doing for us. It is phenomenal and it is a way to reach young people and help highlight issues.”

Mary said most rape and sexual assault victims are attacked by people they know.

“I think that is the main reason people don’t report rape to the gardaí, because they are raped by somebody they know,” says Mary.

“They also know the legal system doesn’t work for victims; they might be waiting two or three years for court and then the perpetrator may not be found guilty.”

The Sexual Violence Centre Cork 2020 annual report found that almost nine out of 10 victims of rape or sexual assault knew the perpetrator. Only 13.2 per cent were raped or sexually assaulted by a stranger.

The report also found that only one third of survivors reported the attack to the gardaí, while some 66.8% of those contacting the Sexual Violence Centre Cork did not report the matter to the gardaí.

Ms Crilly acknowledged that just one third of people reporting rape or sexual assault to the gardaí was too low; she believes that survivors are becoming more willing to report offences with the trajectory moving in the right direction, though slowly.

“The rate of reporting used to be one in four, so it used to be a lot lower, so I am encouraged that more people are contacting us and going to report it to gardaí but it is still too low.

“For such a horrific crime, the figures are still too low.”

When the pandemic happened, support from the Sexual Violence Centre Cork was accessed via Zoom. The platform will continue to provide access to services for some clients, if it is their preference.

Mary said: “It may still be the preference for some clients, who don’t have to worry then about school runs, getting buses or trying to find parking.

“Adaptation and flexibility were the hallmarks of the Centre’s work in 2020. In the second quarter of the year, when our phone lines were largely silent and fewer new clients were making contact, we used the opportunity to ‘work’ our way through the existing waiting lists for counselling, resulting in a reduced waiting time for all new clients.

“We put increased energy into our social media platforms as this was now the only effective way to reach out to victims and to keep the dialogue about sexual violence going.”

According to the 2020 Sexual Violence Centre Cork report, 90.3% of people contacting the centre in 2020 were women, with men accounting for 9.7%. Men made up 99.2 % of reported perpetrators, while women were responsible for just 0.8% of reported sexual assaults.

The report showed that the centre received a total of 2,883 calls and texts, down from 3,469 in 2019, and said that this was most likely due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on survivors’ ability to access support, with some 63% of calls and texts coming directly from clients.

The Sexual Violence Centre Cork has provided services to victims of sexual violence in Cork city and county since 1983. The Centre provides services to survivors of all forms of violence. This includes rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, online sexual abuse, sexual harassment, stalking, sex trafficking, FGM, forced marriage and domestic violence. Support is provided to anyone aged 14 and over. The Centre is located at 5, Camden Place Cork City. Email:info@sexualviolence.ie Freephone 1800 496 496, or text 087-15333393.

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