Wounded Woman Project | Autobiography of Rape

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 17:23 PM EDT, 14 October 2010

Reinfried Marass, Photographer

Reinfried Marass is an Austrian, professional photographer, born 1960 in Vienna. His work is internationally acknowledged and awarded at some of the world’s most prestigious photographic contests. His photographs have been published in numerous international magazines and books, primarily as covers, full pages, double-spreads or centerfolds.

However, our interest in featuring his work centered around his photo series titled, "The Wounded Woman Project, A Martyrdom of Life." Photos can be powerfully evocative, and when one is dealing with the sensitive subject of rape and abuse, sometimes a picture is worth a 'thousand words.'

At the age of eight years she was raped by one of her mother’s steadily changing friends. Her mother committed suicide at age of 30. The public welfare put her to a boarding school, and soon she and her sister were passed on to foster parents on a farm where both were treated like ‘cheap farm helpers’ , not like beloved kids.

Thereafter she went to Vienna, Austria’s capital – a young, inexperienced, but pretty girl from the country side exposed to the jungle of Austria’s largest city. Very soon she was introduced to the wrong people and spent some time in a gang.

In her twenties she was married to a very violent guy who was drunken 7 days a week and who spent most of his time in prison. He bashed her in a regular way, broke her nose, threw her out of the window and tried her to kill in the bathtub. She survived 4 assassinations by him. She decided to escape and leave the guy together with the 5 years old son.

Her husband got mad, splashed a bottle of fuel at her and lighted her up. She incurred third degree-burns on her whole upper body. Her husband was put into prison and killed himself (or likely was killed by other prisoners).

After years of hospitalization she decided to start to work as a nurse by herself in Austria’s largest hospital, helping others. Besides her day job she does modelling as a semi-professional. Up to her 40′s there have been only very few sunny days in her life.

In collaboration with Austria’s leading female magazine ‘Woman’ she wrote down her first auto-biography entitled ‘Willkommen in der Hölle’ (Welcome to Hell). The book is available in German language only.

This happened 20 years ago and at present she is working on a second book. A follow-up, something titled like ‘The Overcome – The years after’. Whilst the first book is more of a diary of hell, the latter one shall give hope to all the wounded people (especially women). To show that is possible to overcome – to find life, love and laugh again.

The photographs shown are especially dedicated to the tragedy of her life. Some of the images will be used to illustrate the upcoming book. And the images will be used in small exhibitions, underlining her book readings and signings.

People might think the images are all about erotic, or at least too erotic. Sexual violence was always a part of her life, and she was raped more than once, including forced sex by her husband. Some of the images should be viewed with that in mind.

Reinfried dedicated this photographic series to all the wounded women of the world.

Click here | Reinfried Marass' Website

All Rights Reserved by Reinfried Marass and reprinted with photographer's permission.