Intended Consequences: Rwanda Children Born of Rape. Jonathan Torgovnik.
Photographs by Jonathan Torgovnik
Introduction by Marie Consolee Mukagendo
Published by Aperture Foundation, 2009.
Jonathan Torgovnik traveled to Rwanda over the period of three years: he photographed and interviewed survivors of the genocide. Intended Consequences is a collection of environmental portraits and testimonies of women who were brutally raped during the genocide and gave birth. They call them “enfants mauvais souvenirs”, children of bad memories. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, hundreds of thousands of Tutsi women were systematically raped and forced into sexual servitude by members of extremist Hutu militia groups. Abortions are illegal in Rwanda and many women gave birth: they still face enormous challenges raising their kids in post-genocide country.
An estimated twenty thousand children were born of rapes that occurred during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Portraits of mothers with their children are accompanied by testimonies: horrors of genocide, daily challenges and complicated feeling about caring for children born as a result of extreme sexual violence. These families live in poverty and ostracize by their own family and community. Many of them shared these stories for the first time.
Torgovnik co-founded a nonprofit organization, Foundation Rwanda. It provides funding for secondary school education for these kids and helps connect their mothers to existing psychological and medical support.
This is a powerful book. Its clean and elegant design with a lot of white space and clear structure, reinforces the content focusing on the most important. A DVD included in the book (produced by MediaStorm) features interviews with the women.
Jonathan Torgovnik has won the Discovery prize at this year’s Rencontre d’Arles photography festival for Intended Consequences.
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