Portrait of a rape and incest survivor for Brigitte Magazine by photojournalist, reportage, Seattle, Nashville, editorial portrait photographer, Kristina Krug
Die Härteste Strafe Für Eine Mutter
(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 rural Alabama home. She had her first child at 14; it was stillborn. 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.
She was beaten, strangled, and threatened with a gun to her head, but 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.