Bride walks down the aisle with the 15 men who helped her escape from an abusive father
Thanks to these men, she was was never alone.
While the cynic might label the wedding tradition of a father walking his daughter down the aisle as some sort of nod to patriarchy, many brides dream of the moment, picturing it as a sweet send-off from the man who protected and cared for them throughout childhood to the man who will now fulfill those duties in adulthood.
But the truth is, for many, Dad wasn’t the protector…he was the opposite. So the notion of being given away by him feels inappropriate. And at the same time, there can be shame or regret for not getting to participate in such an endearing moment.
That’s why one bride’s unique idea to have not one, not two, but 15 positive male figures in her life accompany her down the aisle on her wedding day is infusing other women with hope for their own big day—even if Dad won’t be there.
Ivy Jurgensen, 28, shared with Good Morning America that a decade ago, her father was convicted of rape of a child and child molestation and was sentenced to prison.
As a teen, Jurgensen would confide in a school resource officer about the abuse she was experiencing at home. Though she was raised to distrust law enforcement, the officer’s genuine care and “big heart” dissolved her fears. She credits their friendship as being “vital” to her ability to "escape and find justice." He even inspired her to become a cop herself.
Thanks to this officer, along with her brother and uncle, her brother-in-law, her childhood sports coaches and a handful of other close friends, Jurgenson said she was “never alone” during a traumatic childhood.
In a video posted to Instagram by the event designer, we see Jurgensen looking lovely in her wedding dress as these outstanding men collectively stand by her side, taking turns walking her down the aisle toward her new husband, Tristen. Indeed, she certainly doesn’t look lonely.
The moment quickly went viral online and deeply resonated with other survivors. One person wrote:
“This is beautiful. Have had an abusive father myself, I know what that does to our heart and soul. Raising a daughter who is now 20, she has been fatherless since 5, I see what his absence has done to her.
To all the good men out there, you don’t need to be blood to be a father or role model, the love and respect you will receive back is endless. 💞”
Being able to honor her male champions was special for Jurgensen, but she hopes that her story also helps others.
"I hope that what people take away from my story is strength. That they are able to gain courage to get and receive help that they deserve and to no longer be voiceless," she told GMA. "You are not alone and deserve to be heard and get justice. Saving yourself could be saving other unknown victims."
Congrats to Ivy and Tristen. And thank you to those 15 men who never stopped showing up.