Currently incarcerated persons are probably already the most isolated individuals in the United States. Those who are not only incarcerated but also the victims of sexual violence while imprisoned face little support, few mental health and recovery services, the ongoing threat of violence, and even retaliation should they speak of the abuse. With their support networks ripped from them, their right to safety revoked, and their abusers (who are most frequently prison officials) having control over every aspect of their lives, they are among the most vulnerable sexual assault survivors.
In light of this, sending a 250 character message of support and greeting during the holiday season may seem a truly underwhelming gesture. It is precisely these same conditions, however, that makes such a small act able to speak volumes. Incarcerated persons are cultural pariahs, socially treated as subhuman, and/or told that they deserve sexual violence as a condition of their detention. A few kind and compassionate words, under those circumstances, could mean the world.
I don’t care whether or not you link to my post, but PLEASE help spread the word about this campaign.
I did a little reading at the link and it sounds like a great cause. A quick and easy way for us to brighten up someone’s day with a few kind words.
Sarah Seltzer in an AlterNet article about rape culture and victim blaming. Obvious trigger warnings at the link. (via happyfeminist)
Relevant. Cissexism in the article was glaring though, so TW if you do check it out.
Abuse uncovered at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, is a shocking example of how widespread crimes go unnoticed and unresolved. The incidents took place at a facility ICE promotes as a model of its detention reforms. At Hutto, a resident supervisor molested detainees as he was transporting them to the airport after they were released on bond. Not only did ICE fail to prevent these abuses from occurring, but the agency was also uncooperative with non-governmental organizations in identifying all victims after the abuse came to light. Despite this, the Hutto supervisor was convicted in state court last year on charges involving five immigrant women victims, sentenced to one year imprisonment, and has now been indicted on federal charges concerning four more female victims. But ICE’s lack of transparency and unwillingness to take action to prevent such abuse demonstrates the need for strong, effective standards to protect those in immigration detention.
Disappointingly, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has proposed a rule that explicitly excludes immigration detention facilities from coverage under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Congress enacted PREA to protect all persons in custody by setting standards for preventing, detecting, and responding to sexual abuse. But without PREA’s protection, immigrants in detention remain vulnerable to abuse. For a population at such high risk of sexual abuse, this is unacceptable.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing [Friday] morning on the Violence Against Women Act, which is due for reauthorization this year. This reauthorization is an opportunity to finally ensure that immigration detainees receive the same protection as other prisoners by clarifying that PREA applies to them too.
If your senator serves on the Judiciary Committee, please contact his or her office today to support a legislative solution that applies PREA to all detainees, including those in immigration detention. Call 202-225-3121 and ask for your senator’s office.
My senator is on here, but Dianne Feinstein kicks everyone’s ass so I’m sure she’s already on top of it.