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Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:09 PM

Have You Seen This? Photographer As Witness - A Portrait of Domestic Violence

Sara Naomi Lewkowicz, a photojournalist, has illustrated one couple's relationship as it descended into domestic violence - basically she was doing a story on them, and while she was with them one night, they had a fight, and the man became extremely violent towards the woman, was arrested for felony domestic violence, and she documented the whole thing in photos.

As a former survivor of domestic violence myself, this is just heartwrenching to look at. Obviously there is a question of ethics here (i.e., at what point does a journalist have a duty to stop documenting and get involved), but I also think it is very important for the general public to see exactly what violence against women looks like in our country, to be able to put a human face on an abstract concept. I think the victim is very brave.

Anyway, here is the link to the story:

"Domestic violence is often shielded from public view. Usually, we only hear it muffled through walls or see it manifested in the faded yellow and purple bruises of a woman who “walked into a wall” or “fell down the stairs.” Despite a movement to increase awareness of domestic violence, we still treat it as a private crime, as if it is none of our business."

"During my time as a freelance photojournalist and as a Master’s candidate at Ohio University, one of the biggest challenges of my career came in November of 2012, while working on a project about the stigma associated with being an ex-convict. Suddenly, an incident of domestic violence unexpectedly became my business."

Read more: http://lightbox.time.com/2013/02/27/photographer-as-witness-a-portrait-of-domestic-violence/#ixzz2M8FgKKdz



http://lightbox.time.com/2013/02/27/photographer-as-witness-a-portrait-of-domestic-violence/#1

33 replies, 3319 views

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply Have You Seen This? Photographer As Witness - A Portrait of Domestic Violence (Original post)
distantearlywarning Feb 2013 OP
zappaman Feb 2013 #1
secondvariety Feb 2013 #2
reflection Feb 2013 #3
Blue_Tires Feb 2013 #31
Chalco Feb 2013 #4
Turbineguy Feb 2013 #5
Brickbat Feb 2013 #6
distantearlywarning Feb 2013 #7
Brickbat Feb 2013 #8
TorchTheWitch Feb 2013 #15
eggplant Feb 2013 #9
kracer20 Feb 2013 #10
Shampoobra Feb 2013 #11
one_voice Feb 2013 #13
Shampoobra Feb 2013 #14
Blue_Tires Feb 2013 #12
lunatica Feb 2013 #18
raccoon Feb 2013 #20
lapislzi Feb 2013 #22
bullwinkle428 Feb 2013 #28
Warren DeMontague Feb 2013 #16
Le Taz Hot Feb 2013 #17
lapislzi Feb 2013 #23
Delphinus Feb 2013 #19
Shankapotomus Feb 2013 #21
CanSocDem Feb 2013 #27
Sheldon Cooper Feb 2013 #24
lapislzi Feb 2013 #26
Sheldon Cooper Feb 2013 #29
lapislzi Feb 2013 #30
polly7 Feb 2013 #25
BanzaiBonnie Feb 2013 #32
lapislzi Feb 2013 #33

Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:18 PM

1. Du Rec and kick!

Really powerful!
Thanks for posting!

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:07 PM

2. Those poor kids.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:26 PM

3. Powerful.

And stunning photos from the photographer.

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Response to reflection (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:15 AM

31. I'm VERY surprised the boyfriend didn't lash out at the photog

The camera flashes from a few feet away would have just added fuel to the fire, I think....

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:26 PM

4. Excellent. Thank you. nt

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:28 PM

5. When it comes to people who have been in prison and released

it seems we have won the war but lost the peace.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:32 PM

6. Yes. Posted it awhile back.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022163907

Worth a repost and a rec, though. Important stuff.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:40 PM

7. Sorry, didn't realize it was a repost.

Just saw it for the first time on Slate today.

I wish I had noted it here the first time around! Very powerful photojournalism.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:43 PM

8. Oh gosh, no problem!

Already your version has twice as many responses as mine got.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:08 AM

15. I didn't see it before, so I'm glad you posted it again

It really makes you wonder how much worse he would have been had the photographer and the other people had been there. I'm so glad she got away from this guy, and hope to God she never goes back and he never finds her or her kids.

Though it's certainly powerful photo journalism I'm pissed as hell at the photographer and the friends for not intervening or calling the police sooner. It makes me sick to my stomach seeing what he did to her, and the photographer thought it was more important to take photos of it instead of helping someone so obviously in desperate need and to allow that poor child to witness it and get physically involved. That's just sick and totally inhumane behavior. I don't need to see a photo montage of a woman and her children being abused by some asshole to understand how bad it is any more than I need to see a photo montage of someone being raped or murdered to understand how bad it is, and there is something REALLY wrong with anyone that thinks taking photos of it is more important than doing something to stop it.


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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:47 PM

9. When I've seen it, I've stepped in.

I'm probably lucky that I've been able to talk them down (thus far), but I'm not a big guy, and they could easily hurt me, or worse. Interestingly, acknowledging that fact in a calm and unafraid voice been enough to get them to back down. The threat of violence is meant to strike fear into you, to control you. When that doesn't work, they calm down a bit.

Then again, the people I've dealt with have been assholes, but not morons. Even in their hyped up state, they know that taking a swing at me couldn't possibly be justified later, and they know that I wouldn't hesitate to press charges and see them thrown in the slammer. Morons, on the other hand, really wouldn't think that through, so it's always scary.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:48 PM

10. Is this staged?

Like reality TV? The photos and descriptions are very powerful, but I just can't imagine how anyone could stand by and take photos while this was happening, and I also can't imagine that the lunatic tattooed person would allow the picture to be taken.

I am in no way trying to pretend that domestic violence doesn't happen, I'm just curious how it could be documented so well.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 06:43 PM

11. This one breaks my heart...



Caption: "As Shane and Maggie continued to fight, Memphis ran into the room and refused to leave Maggie's side. She witnessed the majority of the assault on her mother. As the two fought, Memphis began to scream and stomp her feet."

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Response to Shampoobra (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 08:20 PM

13. Childhood memories.



K&R

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Response to one_voice (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:58 PM

14. I'm sorry

While my parents weren't perfect, they didn't fight like this. So if this photo breaks my heart, it must be even more awful for someone who had to grow up with domestic violence. I'm sorry you had to.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 08:11 PM

12. Not sure how she ended up with that jerkoff in the first place...

at this point in her life, her choices in men have been sorely lacking...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #12)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 06:54 AM

18. Spousal abuse is a very complicated dynamic

What probably happened is he was a nice guy when she met him. He treated her well and it probably lasted for a while. Then one day he got mad and he hit her, but he probably apologized and cried and promised he would never do it again. Then everything was OK for a while, but he hit her again. The beatings escalated but not after he knew he had control of her and he always blamed her. "You made me mad" is often heard in these cases because the abuser, like so many thoughtless other people, blame the victim.

And along with the beatings are the threats which are even worse. The abuser will invariably threaten her life, her children's lives and her family's life in order to keep her under control. Usually she believes him, mostly because he's shown he will beat someone up at the drop of a hat. And unfortunately it's usually when a woman works up the nerve to leave her abuser that he kills her.

It's a pattern which is lived over again and again by women but most of the women have no idea it's a pattern or that it's predictable and how truly dangerous it is. There's a reason women's shelters are kept secret. Their lives and their children's lives depend on it.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #18)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 08:00 AM

20. Great post. nt

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Response to lunatica (Reply #18)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:10 AM

22. Nobody gets punched in the nose on the first date.

I don't know how many people I've said this to, in answer to the question of "why did she take up with him in the first place?"

Often the controlling behavior is disguised as loving behavior. You think he's jealous because he loves you. He puts your friends down and discourages you from seeing them because he loves spending time with you and says they're "not good enough" (or something like that). He wants to take care of you (so he says), so he keeps all the money. As lunatica above points out, the dynamic is very complicated.

By the time the woman (usually, it's a woman) realizes what's going on, she's isolated, alone, frightened, and has had her self-esteem eroded to the point where she doubts her own judgment.

I've had women tell me that if they leave the relationship, their spouse would die. And they believe it, when the opposite is generally true: if you leave him, you could die.

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #12)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:41 AM

28. In this particular case, she met the guy while he was still in prison.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:16 AM

16. Ugh. Slow Motion Train Wreck.

Agreed about the Victim's bravery.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 06:36 AM

17. I lasted through about half of this.

I grew up in that kind of environment. The brutality towards the children is unforgivable. I try not to have violent thoughts because I believe what you send out into the cosmos comes back to you but I would have no problem killing that piece of human excrement. None.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have watched that.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #17)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:13 AM

23. Peace.

I was horrified also, especially by the angle of his chin in photo 20. Brings back too much, too much.

Please do not chastise yourself for those thoughts. Having them does not mean you will act on them, and the universe is a forgiving place...for the contrite and the forgiving.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 07:44 AM

19. Oh my,

this is hard to read. Powerful stuff.

Can't read any further - I'm about to get sick.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 08:04 AM

21. You'd think the "Trash"

tattoo would have been enough of a red flag.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #21)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:31 AM

27. Indeed.



I was reminded of DeNiro in Cape Fear.

.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:22 AM

24. Young, poor, estranged from her husband who is in the military in Alaska.

Lonely, wanting some companionship and help with money and child-rearing. Turns to a low-life deadbeat who promises her the moon. She thinks her ship has come in, even though it's obvious that he can't stand her son. She overlooks that because he's got so many other good points. And then he starts whining about her kids coming before him, and she feels torn, and on and on, until he lashes out and hits her in front of the kids. The only thing that surprises me about this is that she got out so quickly and decisively. Most women cycle in and out of this for years, inflcting untold damage on themselves and especially on their innocent kids. This woman took her kids to Alaska to reunite with her husband. I hope it works out for that family.

It's a lesson about watching who you let into your life, especially if you have kids. A lot of stepparents are great and do a fabulous job of raising someone else's kids. But lots of them are not, and it's scary. There are statistics about children who are killed by their stepparents, and it's quite chilling.

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Response to Sheldon Cooper (Reply #24)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:29 AM

26. It may not be over.

I hope you're right about your observation that she ended it quickly and decisively. Most women in long-term abusive relationships leave several times before they're able to get out for good. And every time they leave, the stakes become higher and their danger increases.

What's missing from this photo essay is a more specific timeline, or sufficient backstory for the reader/viewer to gain a sense of the couple's history. The main points are covered, but I wonder if this was the first instance of physical abuse. I sort of doubt it, based on what I know about abuse.

I hope Alaska is far enough away, and that this guy stays in jail. The latter is doubtful.

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Response to lapislzi (Reply #26)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:58 AM

29. From the article, it looks like the incident in question occurred in Nov 2012.

The photographer had met them 2.5 monhts earlier, and they had been dating one month prior to that. So it looks like the sum total of their relationship was 3.5 months. That is a remarkably short time in terms of these types of situations - they usually drag on much longer before the woman is finally able to leave. I wonder if knowing that she had a husband to go back to helped with the decision - if their marriage was permananently broken and she didn't have that alternative, I wonder if she would have stayed with the abuser. The photographer is going to go see her in Alaska to see how she's doing. I hope there is a happy ending.

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Response to Sheldon Cooper (Reply #29)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:32 AM

30. Hope you're right.

And I hope Alaska is far enough away to overcome the visual reminder that this man must face every time he looks in the mirror.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:26 AM

25. This is one I can't watch, but I'm glad you posted it. nt.

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Response to distantearlywarning (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 01:32 PM

32. And it happens thousands of times a day

I wept.

And I still have compassion for Shane. Yes, he knows better. He just doesn't know how to be different. He probably witnessed his own mother being beaten.

We must help break the cycle.

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Response to BanzaiBonnie (Reply #32)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 01:44 PM

33. Me, too. He loves her. All the way down to his fists.

Probably no one ever told him that love isn't supposed to hurt.

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