Hanna Komar profile

Hanna Komar

Hanna Komar

University of Brighton (2023)


Dr Vedrana Velickovic


Supporting Belarusian women to share experiences of gender-based violence and patriarchy using poetry: an autoethnographic approach


In August 2020, Belarus burst into a massive peaceful protest against dictatorship, one that was met by immense violence. We could see a direct connection between private traumas — such as domestic abuse, and public traumas — such as state violence. The crackdown on the protest and the ongoing repressions have resulted in the destruction of social support networks. Today, every second Belarusian woman is concerned about facing physical or sexualised violence and 83% of women are afraid of violence from the law enforcement agencies. These women are left on their own and silenced, and the trauma is expanding. With this project I aim to explore my personal and familial experience of domestic abuse and state violence in Belarus as well as the power of poetry to enable women to share their experiences of gender-based violence and patriarchy and find empowerment in that.

Autoethnography, as a research method which combines autobiography and ethnography, allows me to place my personal and familial experience in a large social, political and cultural context in order to highlight the big social issues and bring about change. The practical outcome of this research will be a body of poetry that seeks to raise awareness and promote societal change around domestic abuse and misogyny in Belarus.