Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Laura Cowan waits for a class at the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center in Cleveland, where she volunteers.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Exhibits from the trial of abuser Mansa Musa Muhummed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Photo of Marlon Boddie with a bruised forehead used in the trial of Mansa Musa Muhummed, who was born Richard Boddie Jr.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Marlon Boddie is one of the children of polygamist Mansa Musa Muhummed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

A photo of Curtis Boddie used in the trial of Mansa Musa Muhummed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Curtis Boddie is one of the children of Mansa Musa Muhummed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Marva "Shareemah" Barfield was the first wife of Mansa Musa Muhummed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Tiffany Boddie, left, and Likesha Boddie are among the children of Mansa Musa Muhummed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Laura Cowan with her 13-year-old daughter Tasslimah Muhummed, fathered by their abuser. Cowan had two other children when the ill-fated relationship began.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Laura Cowan's son Ahmed was a particular target of beatings. She begged abuser Mansa Muhummed to stop but was ignored. After he forced Ahmed to stand naked in a bucket of water for hours she began a letter to police about the abuse.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Laura Cowan reaches out to son Ahmed at his high school graduation in June.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Ahmed Shabazz sits among fellow students on graduation day.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Laura Cowan and Ahmed laugh before leaving for the graduation ceremony. Ahmed is now attending Cabrillo College in Aptos, near Santa Cruz.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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Survivors of abuse

Laura Cowan survived life in one of the most notoriously abusive households in recent California history. Now a speaker, counselor and forceful advocate for  abused women, Cowan has come a long way since her abuser was sentenced to seven life terms in prison.

Read David Kelly’s story: Emerging from a notorious hell of abuse to counsel others

1 Comment

  1. November 9, 2011, 4:42 pm

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