Story of domestic violence chronicled in stunning photos

dvSara Naomi Lewkowicz, a photographer and first-year graduate student at Ohio University in Athens, has produced a series of 39 gripping photos that tell the all-too-common story of domestic violence.

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.

Published on’s Lightbox section, Lewkowicz also provides the chronology of the relationship of two people, Shane, 31, and Maggie, 19, and two children, Kayden, 4, and Memphis, nearly 2, whom Maggie had with her then-estranged husband.

For people who are tuned into the long-term effects of adverse childhood experiences, these photos display two people caught in the act of passing on their unstated and unresolved adverse childhood experiences to two children who deserve a better life. In some communities, domestic violence does not rise to the level that child protective services consider intervening. It’s so painfully obvious here that it is.

Some people might think that removing the children from their mother would be best, but that would only traumatize them further. Everyone in this story, this entire family, like so many others, needs help. Otherwise that little boy and that little girl are likely to grow up to be Shane and Maggie.

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