TW for, obviously, rape. Also gif warning for people with epilepsy.
I have decided today is the day to talk about prison rape, which some people think is still not an issue. (Note: if you think prison rape isn’t an issue, especially after reading what I have to say about it, please leave my blog forever. We don’t need rape-apologist douchefaces here.)
Twenty percent of inmates in American men’s prisons are sexually abused at some point during their detention. 4.5% of federal and state prisoners have been sexually abused in the last year alone. Survivors are often repeatedly raped because they’re marked as “fair game”; sometimes they’re treated like property and sold within the facility.
You want to talk about the normalization of rape? Try this on about the normalization of rape: it is accepted by most Americans that rape is a routine part of being imprisoned. In fact, some people think of it as a way to prevent crime. Incidentally, here is all the evidence that prison rape prevents crime:
Not to mention that rape is, you know, a crime that isn’t being prosecuted. That must be one hell of a deterrent effect if we’re allowing people to literally commit crimes in order to stop crime.
Let’s also not forget that prison rape is unconstitutional because it’s cruel and unusual punishment (both Congress and the Supreme Court have recognized it as such). And that it’s torture according to international treaties ratified by the US and, last time I checked, we aren’t allowed to torture people. Admittedly, there are many areas of the justice system that need to get this particular message! But that doesn’t change the fact that rape is torture and torture is a thing we should not do.
Marginalized people are the most likely to be victimized. In American men’s prisons, gay inmates, transgender people of all genders, young inmates (especially when housed with adults), and nonviolent offenders are the most likely to be raped. Yes, nonviolent offenders. That shows you how well that whole “punishment for the crime” thing is going. You horrible check-forger! Check forgery is such a horrific crime we shall punish it with torture under the Geneva Conventions!
And let’s not forget that inmates are much more likely than the general population to have been sexually abused as children, not to have a support system, and to be mentally ill, which puts them at a higher risk of developing PTSD, depression, addiction, and suicidal ideation. Not to mention all the ways that the American prison environment causes secondary trauma: indifference, jokes, and harsh questioning from corrections officials; the corrections department not classifying PTSD as a serious mental illness*; counselling that isn’t confidential, if it’s even available; the risk of being a “snitch” if they report (and counselors are required to report), putting them at higher risk of violence and other retaliations; having to share living quarters with their rapist; inability to control their environment to prevent triggers; lack of contact with out-of-prison support systems…
Did I mention that all of this happens under the eyes of corrections officials? That corrections officials often condone prison rape and sometimes even participate in it? That not only is rape illegal but that any sexual contact between a prisoner and a corrections official is illegal in pretty much every state? And yet it happens in prisons across the country? Yep! All of those are true things!
Prison rape is horrible. Prison rape is not funny. Prison rape affects one out of every five male prisoners, mostly the weakest, and the prison system not only fails to provide them with support and justice but actively makes their rape worse. Prison rape does not serve as a deterrent or punishment for crime, and even if it did using it as such would be in violation of the Constitution and international law. I dunno, people who aren’t seeking to stamp out prison rape, do you hate the Constitution? Because that’s pretty much the sense I’m getting here.
One prison rape is too many. One in five male prisoners being raped is definitely too many. Prison rape matters. Don’t fucking joke about it, and consider donating to Just Detention, which works to end prison rape in the US and internationally.