E-NEWS - 2012

Frank's dream come true

When we protect the dignity of all human beings, it is cause for celebration. That is exactly what we accomplished, with your help, when the U.S. Department of Justice released national standards to end prisoner rape just two months ago.

Frank Mendoza, a member of JDI’s Survivor Council, is one of many people joining us in marking this victory. Since being sexually assaulted by a staff member at Los Angeles County Jail in 2006, Frank has been a leading voice in the fight to end this abuse (click here to watch a short video of Frank and other survivors).  

Frank writes:

Frank, a prisoner rape survivor, says the new standards are a "dream come true."For me, the new standards are a dream come true. When I was raped, it shattered my life. No one cared – until I talked to JDI. Finding out that I wasn’t alone gave me the strength to speak out and help others.

Many of us have been fighting for these regulations for years, and at times it felt as if we would never win. Now that the standards have at last been released, I can finally celebrate. I know that I have made a difference for people who are still in custody and going through some pain of their own.

The standards aren’t perfect, but they will save lives. Detention facilities are now required to provide safe housing for those most at risk of sexual abuse. They also must allow survivors to get urgent medical treatment and counseling. And if a facility fails to protect inmates, as L.A. County Jail failed to protect me, it is far more likely to be held accountable.

If the standards had been in place in 2006, my abuse could have been prevented. I can’t change what happened to me, but I’m proud to have helped make sure no one else will have to go through what I did, ever.

Frank’s poignant message is a reminder of what we can accomplish, despite the odds, when we refuse to give up – and of the amazing opportunity we now have. The standards have the potential to end prisoner rape, but only if they are adopted in prisons and jails nationwide. Now, our job is to ensure just that. Working with survivors like Frank – and supporters like you – I have no doubt that we will succeed. 

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