Alison Rutsch

Alison Rutsch is an artist and educator living in California.

Stories By Alison Rutsch

My Brother Burned Our House Down—and Now I Understand Why

Years of drug addiction, mental illness and incarceration sent my sibling over the edge. A decade later, when I spent a night in jail myself, I finally saw what lit his fire.

My First Visit to See Dad in Prison

I was four when my father was sent away for domestic abuse. I was desperate to see him again—until I finally got the chance.

My Life Sentence of Shame

My second grade teacher’s abusing hands hurt more than I could say. A decade later, I feel as if I’m still being punished for his crime and I’ve told almost nobody until now.

Fleeing My Own Father

He was coming for my mother, knife in hand. I grabbed her and ran, praying the police would get to our house before he could get to us.

What a Double Life-Sentence Feels Like, to a Daughter Left Behind

I was only twelve when Dad was sent away—and that was just the beginning.

The Fear of Losing Everything in the Blink of an Eye

It wasn’t my first time in lockup, but it was the longest night of my life.

The Trail of Blood That Changed My Life

I was seven when a game of catch led to standing in a puddle of blood while my teenage neighbor lay dying. But I wasn’t too young to understand the stakes of “the life.”

Just Sterilize Me, Already!

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve known having kids is not for me. At 25, I couldn’t be more certain about my decision to undergo sterilization. So why does every doctor, nurse and therapist in sight keep trying to convince me otherwise?

My Father’s Secret Life in the Hospital of Death

Growing up in Chicago, my dad barely spoke of the horrors he witnessed during Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Then one day a doom-filled document landed on our doorstep and I finally began to understand.