Collaborating with my subjects for this series is very important and extremely rewarding. There is no possibility that I can fully appreciate the life altering significance of some of the personal decisions made. Yet, through heart-felt correspondence, I have been able to stitch and share stories. Kristine's decision was amazing. Sexually abused for four years by her stepfather, she pressed charges at the tender age of fourteen. He went to prison for just eighteen months. Such injustice! I was appalled. This piece could have easily turned into a statement about sexual abuse and/or the court's hideous notion of an adequate sentence after conviction. Collaborating with Kristine, however, kept the portrait properly focused.
In one of our email messages, Kristine wrote that she'd been very, very upset (understandably so!) by the mere eighteen months her stepfather spent in prison. She said that she needed to be angry.... for her recovery. Later, she realized that his time in prison wasn't nearly as important as 1) her need to put him there...even if for only a day and 2) the fact that he became a "marked man".... a convicted sex offender.
One more important thing: Here's a link to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network: http://www.rainn.org.