Jezebel alerted me to a piece from NPR's Tell Me More about prison rape. It's a long segment---17 minutes---but it's a topic that pops into my head a lot of times. Like when I read about an 18-year-old going to prison for burglary---which popped up today in the local paper.
And I don't think about how these people shouldn't be punished for what they have done, but rather, I weigh in my mind whether I think that crime deserves X-years of rape.
From the Jezebel article:
The fact that prison rape has become an accepted part of prison culture and, in fact, viewed by some people in some cases as an acceptable retributory action isn't acceptable. Incarceration is meant to be its own punishment, and so long as our society eschews the eye-for-an-eye system of punishment in cases of theft and other assaults — and, in some places, in cases of murder — then rapists (let alone anyone else) shouldn't face sexual assaults as a form of social retributions for their crimes, let alone accept or venerate the rapists committing them.Sadly, the judge on the NPR program says we'll never be completely rid of prison rape. And, even sadder, that if anything is to change, that there needs to be political will to do so.
Furthermore, if a man rapes a sex worker, or a woman in a short skirt, or a drunk woman — despite Bill O'Reilly's feelings on the subject — most right-minded people would agree that the rapist shouldn't get a pass because the woman wasn't keeping with certain social standards (i.e., because some people would consider her "bad"). So then why is it any more socially acceptable for people to wish rape — or at least to not harshly condemn it — on prison inmates because they've done something illegal? Activist Lovisa Stannow with Just Detention International says that it's due to a level of social discomfort among people and with discussing sex and rape, so we revert to cheap (and ugly) jokes and old school concepts of retribution.
Sadder, cuz that political will isn't even a twinkle in someone's eye at this stage of the game....