Portrait of a rape survivor for Brigitte Magazine. Portrait, Editorial, Alabama, women's issues, resiliance, survival, hope
The Harshest Penalty for a Mother
J was repeatedly raped by her mother's adult brother, whom her mother let share a room with her in their small home. Her first child was stillborn at 14. She had two surviving sons from three more pregnancies. She was shamed, coerced and intimidated into marrying her rapist, by her mother, who feared police involvement.
Beaten, strangled, and threatened with a gun to her head, J eventually escaped with her children. But as a single, homeless mother in Alabama, the system didn't protect her. Instead, the judge awarded custody of her two sons to their father, in spite of his history of auto theft and drug use.
She later remarried, and in 2012 regained custody of her sons, only for a judge to grant her rapist visitation rights. J was yet again punished by a system that wasn't designed to protect women like her. In spite of all this, J has recently begun to share her story to advocate for other pro-life rape victims like her.