Magazine article New Internationalist

Surviving Prison Rape

Magazine article New Internationalist

Surviving Prison Rape

Article excerpt

Scenes of inmates strategically dropping bars of soap in public showers are not a rarity in low-budget Hollywood comedies. In fact, this staged portrayal of sexual violence is often expected to provoke giggles amongst audiences. But prison rape is no joke. According to Just Detention International (JDI) over 200,000 persons in US detention centres are sexually abused each year. JDI is a Los Angeles-based, non-profit organization that advocates for the sexual safety of prisoners in America and abroad.

The group's members, prison rape survivors and their allies, use various methods to get their message across. For example, The Resource Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse Behind Bars provides a state-by-state guide to psychological and legal counselling services for survivors or their loved ones. The guide is often sent to those still in prison and includes self-help materials and a letter of hope written by a fellow survivor.

Jan Lastocy is one of those. Raped by her supervisor over the course of several months while at a correctional facility in Michigan, Lastocy never reported the crime. …

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