Portrait of a rape and incest survivor for Brigitte Magazine by photojournalist, reportage, Seattle, Nashville, editorial portrait photographer, Kristina Krug
BRIGITTE | GRUNER + JAHR DEUTSCHLAND GMBH
Die Härteste Strafe Für Eine Mutter
As a child, J was a victim of sexual violence and repeatedly raped by her mother's adult brother. Her mother let her daughter share a room with her uncle in their small rural Alabama home. She subsequently became pregnant with her first child at 14; it was stillborn.
Continually raped, she had five more pregnancies by her uncle, with two surviving sons. J's mother feared police involvement. Rather than protecting her daughter, she shamed, coerced and intimidated her into marrying her rapist.
Beaten, strangled, and threatened at gunpoint, J eventually escaped with her children. But as a single, homeless mother in Alabama, the legal system didn't protect her. Instead, the judge awarded custody of her two sons to their father, in spite of his criminal 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 abandoned by a system that wasn't designed to protect victims like her. In spite of all this, J is pro-life. She has begun to share her story to advocate for other pro-life rape survivors like her.