Prisoner Rape Survivors Tell Their Stories

Every week for the past two months, prisoner rape survivors have sent hundreds of letters to JDI. We credit this flood of correspondence to the support among prisoners for the proposed national standards addressing sexual abuse in detention. In addition to writing to us, many survivors also sent letters to the Attorney General during the public comment period on the national standards, which ended on May 10. More than 100 of these survivor comments have now been posted online by the Justice Department.

Prisoner rape survivors write to JDI for many reasons -- to not feel alone, to get access to resources, to join the effort to end sexual abuse in detention. All of us at JDI are committed to ensuring that survivors play a central role in our work. We publish testimonies on JDI's website, connect survivors with journalists, and enable survivors to speak directly to lawmakers and government officials. "If my story helps anyone in their pain, then it would make speaking out worthwhile," writes Chris from prison, where he was raped shortly after his arrival.

The survivor testimonies JDI has posted online are not suitable for everyone, as they describe incidents of rape and other forms of sexual assault. While such accounts are difficult to read, we believe that it is essential that as a society we hear the truth about what occurs in U.S. prisons and jails. Awareness is crucial to changing the status quo, says Jan, who was repeatedly raped by a prison employee. "My goal is to think of myself someday not as a victim, but as a survivor, and hopefully help to stop prisoner rape from occurring so that others do not have to suffer."

Thank you for supporting JDI and brave survivors like Chris and Jan -- together we can end this human rights crisis.

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