Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Prison Rape: Not Just About Male Victims

For many people prison rape is male on male rape. But the reality is that the general attitudes behind men raping women also exists within prisons. Most female inmates fit the stereotypes of women who are asking for it or they fit the stereotypes of non-credible victims or they fit both stereotypes.

From the AP (about 10 women awarded $15.5 million dollars in a civil case over prison sex abuse):

The [Michigan] Department of Corrections plans to appeal. Spokesman Russ Marlan said the department fired workers if the allegations were substantiated, but that many of the allegations did not come out until trial.

He said the women testified that they did not report abuse because they were afraid of retaliation. "If we are to investigate an allegation, we need to know about it," Marlan said.

But one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs said state attorneys called the women liars and questioned the inmates' credibility at trial. The jury agreed with the prisoners, attorney Deborah LaBelle said, finding a sexually hostile prison environment existed at Scott Correctional, the state knew about it and failed to protect the women.

The official response from Marlan is a cheap way to excuse wrongdoing by putting all responsibility onto rape victims and none onto those who commit crimes or allow those crimes to continue. His approach supports a system that dismisses most reports of abuse. Many claims of rape outside the prison system aren't substantiated, but they are important indicators and cannot rightfully be assumed to be false simply because there isn't enough evidence to get a conviction.

This lawsuit covered only 10 of about 490 women current or past inmates who are part of the civil action against the state of Michigan. Hundreds of alleged victims indicates that prison employees were given defacto permission to rape.

For anyone who says that those who commit crimes don't deserve any better, you are saying that hurting others isn't wrong across the board and that you can get away with crimes if you have more power and/or more regard than your victims.

This is a bad lesson to teach convicted criminals and does little to inspire them to respect the law when they are released.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:12 AM   0 comments links to this post


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