Here is what’s happening in our government:
In 2001, the Human Rights Watch brought the prison rape crisis into the national spotlight with their piece, “No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons.” It takes two years, but Congress responds with the passage of PREA, the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The Act, while being highly-laudable, took a zero tolerance policy against prison rape and like most zero tolerance policies, was apparently rather ineffective. Fast forward nine years, May of 2012, and the Department of Justice has finally published federal regulations to support the zero tolerance policy of PREA.
Congress declared, with the passage of the bill, that the costs would not be “substantive.” The regulations that were released last month are expected to cost up to $7 billion over 15 years, which sounds huge, but is actually less than 1% of the penal system’s overall cost, and that’s at the high end of the cost projection. However, the American Action Forum has declared the cost to high fight prison rape.
And here is what’s happening in our media:
Comedy shows like Saturday Night Live routinely use prison rape to get a laugh. In a “Scared Straight” parody, actors find it so funny that they break character. Even when it’s not the basis of a joke, male rape is still grotesquely misunderstood.
The previous season of True Blood featured Jason Stackhouse being raped by a line of women queued up for the opportunity. Apparently, news outlets and the show’s creators did not really understand just how truly fucked up those five long minutes of “comeuppance” were.
Is there ever a situation where it would be okay to describe a woman being raped as being deserved? I would argue no, and so why are men then treated differently? Female victims struggle in surprising numbers from the shame of their automatic arousal responses, yet I’ve had to argue personally with nurses who don’t believe men can have unwanted erections. If only that was true, adolescent boys everywhere could breathe a deep, collective sigh of relief.
There is a disconnect between reality and the general public’s perception.
Rape isn’t a Girl thing, or a Guy thing.
This disconnect only furthers the divide between men and women. I can’t argue and say that the latest regulations for PREA are the best way to fight this. The best way would be to confront our cultural beliefs, insensitivity, and basic misunderstanding of human physiology.
Do you think that will cost less than $7 billion? With man-hour costs (unintentional pun, I swear), do you think it would cost less than even $7 trillion?
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