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 Post subject: Trigger: Sexual Violence in Prisons
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:35 pm 
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Semen Strong
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I thought this was a fascinating article that summarizes and links to some other interesting articles and data.

In another thread someone mentioned that rape is seen as a feminist issue because it happens disproportionately to women (9/10 by Justice Department estimates that do not include sexual assaults and rapes in prisons). I still believe it is a feminist issue, but it is interesting to see just how appalling the amount of sexual violence is, and the fact that there appears to be a societal acceptance of that type of violence and little political will to change it. This is just another reminder that all violence and oppression is interconnected.

n+1 took Justice Department statistics and made the shocking thesis that more men are raped in the US than women, because of the number of prison rapes.

n+1 wrote:
In January, prodded in part by outrage over a series of articles in the New York Review of Books, the Justice Department finally released an estimate of the prevalence of sexual abuse in penitentiaries. The reliance on filed complaints appeared to understate the problem. For 2008, for example, the government had previously tallied 935 confirmed instances of sexual abuse. After asking around, and performing some calculations, the Justice Department came up with a new number: 216,000. That’s 216,000 victims, not instances. These victims are often assaulted multiple times over the course of the year. The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.


The Feministe article goes on and says that it isn't possible to conclude from these numbers that the United States is “the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women” but that both the n+1 article and the NY Review of Books article are correct that the U.S. prison system is a moral catastrophe. They are both correct that it is entirely possible to lower the sexual assault rate in American prisons, but that the political will is simply not there.

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2 ... han-women/

Quote:
One overlap, though, between prison rape of men and non-prison rape of women is the way American society views both as an inevitability. That plays out in different ways, but there’s a sense that incarceration must naturally lead to rape (see, e.g., “don’t drop the soap!” jokes), and that femaleness is inherently sexually tempting and therefore also leads to rape if you’re not vigilant about preventing it (see, e.g., every rape prevention tactic that focuses on what women should or should not do — don’t walk home alone, don’t wear revealing clothing, etc etc). At the same time, inevitability is tempered by the perceived ability to prevent rape if you just do things “right” — don’t commit a crime so that you end up in jail, don’t break any of the Rape Avoidance Rules For Ladies. It’s a convenient way to conceptualize assault — if you just behave yourself, you won’t be a victim. For women, “doing things right” requires constant vigilance, and an understanding of oneself as inherently vulnerable; it keeps us fearful, and it inhibits our freedom of movement. For populations with high incarceration rates, “doing things right” also requires constant vigilance, and an understanding of oneself as perceived as inherently criminal; it keeps entire communities fearful, resentful, and unable to seek the protection of the police; and it inhibits freedom of movement and expression and speech.

But with the understanding that rape is an inevitability and an avoidable threat and an individual crime, there’s also no reason to actually do something about sexual assault. As long as we pin part of the responsibility for assault on victims — whether it’s people in prison or people in their own homes — there’s less of an incentive to actually curb assault, and less of an understanding that it actually is possible to prevent sexual assault on the assailant side.


I love the NY Review of Books, and can definitely recommend reading the longer underlying piece.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archive ... tion=false

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 Post subject: Re: Trigger: Sexual Violence in Prisons
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:55 am 
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this aired last year, seems like a rather similar tone, just in another country:

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 Post subject: Re: Trigger: Sexual Violence in Prisons
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:10 am 
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I did my thesis on HIV intervention in prison system and this was a huge bit of my research, it's really shocking.


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 Post subject: Re: Trigger: Sexual Violence in Prisons
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:17 am 
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Semen Strong
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Joshua, I am too scared to watch that video. Can you give a synopsis or something?

Fupapack, I thought it was interesting that although there is legislation to establish standards to keep inmates safer from prison rape, the Obama Justice Department has not acted to enact regulations to end the worst practices (pat downs by guards of the opposite gender etc), even though intervening would likely prevent 200,000 rapes a year. And the reason they aren't intervening is because its expensive. As our prison industrial complex explodes and more and more people are incarcerated in private prisons etc, the situation is just going to keep getting worse, because (as one example) it is expensive to have enough guards that all pat downs be conducted by a guard who identifies as the same gender as the inmate.

NY Review of Books article wrote:
In 2003, seeking to address this disgraceful situation, both chambers of Congress unanimously passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), a law that created a commission to study best practices and come up with national standards for preventing, detecting, and responding to the problem. This commission spent years consulting with corrections officials and other experts. Finally, in June 2009, it delivered its recommendations to Attorney General Eric Holder, who by law then had twelve months to revise them before formally issuing standards that would be nationally binding. He missed that deadline.

Moreover, the standards that the department has proposed, taken all together, fall far short of the commission’s recommendations.The Justice Department still has work to do on the standards, but President Obama should urge it to move more swiftly. In just the time it has taken to read this article, several more people have been raped behind bars, and more than half of them could have been saved if the standards were in place. The department now estimates that it will finish its process by the end of 2011, a year and a half after its statutory deadline passed. But well over 100,000 inmates have already been sexually abused while in the government’s care since Holder missed his deadline, and if it takes him until the end of the year to issue standards, there will be nearly 200,000 more.


The process still has not been completed, and private prisons are lobbying hard to cut the recommendations because of the cost issue. http://justdetention.org/en/FPREA.aspx

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 Post subject: Re: Trigger: Sexual Violence in Prisons
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:06 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Joshua, I am too scared to watch that video. Can you give a synopsis or something?

You can click on the Youtube link for a synopsis. Also, you started the thread on this subject but you're scared to click on the link? Does. Not. Compute.

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 Post subject: Re: Trigger: Sexual Violence in Prisons
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Semen Strong
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I am interested in the topic and able to read about stuff, but for some reason visual stuff elicits a more visceral reaction in me. I don't think that is so unusual is it? I still get nightmares from watching Boys Don't Cry and I watched that when it came out in theaters in 1999.

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