Feministing posted the above photos from Just Detention International's new campaign against prison rape. I really like this because it humanizes a group (felons) that has been scapegoated and severely mistreated in our society.
I first became upset about the way prisoners are treated in the USA by reading a book in a college women's studies class that I unfortunately can't remember the title or author of. It's the true story of a woman who runs away from her family to America before she is to have her genitals mutilated in order to prepare her for a marriage she doesn't want. In the USA, she doesn't have proper paperwork so she is thrown in prison, where she would remain for many years. The conditions she and the other "detainees" are subjected too were horrific and terrifying. Only after a very long, hard struggle on her behalf by American citizens is she finally allowed to leave the country. This book infuriated me and stayed on my mind for quite a long time.
I am also distressed about the state of prisons and what happens to their inmates because my dearly loved uncle spent over 10 years incarcerated. I don't want to say anything specific, but he's told me some horror stories about his time there... about how the main walk had to be washed off every day to keep the blood from drying on it, about how you cannot avoid being raped because you may be able to fight, but you can't fight 5 or 6 men all at once every day for your entire jail sentence, so they'll get you sooner or later. This and many other stories break my heart and fill me with respect for him to have gone through all of that and still be such a strong, kind man.
Both as an activist and as a rape survivor, I am so angry that being given a prison sentence is about same thing as condemning a person to be raped over and over again. This is so fucked up, I don't understand how it can continue to go on for years and years and years and years and everyone's mostly totally okay with it.
Just another symptom of our sick, sick society. One more thing I wish I could change by closing my eyes and hoping really hard. Because I sign petitions all the time about this stuff... and it basically feels like doing the same thing.
It's Not Sex When It's Rape
Human Rights are Meaningless in America