Would you joke around about this man being raped? How about now? (prisoner rape, sexual abuse in detention)


Flippant and ill-informed attitudes about inmates and sexual violence behind bars are major obstacles to ending this type of abuse. JDI works to transform public perceptions so that prisoner rape is widely understood for what it is -- a crime and a devastating human rights violation.

Many people believe that inmates deserve to be sexually assaulted, or that prisoner rape somehow deters crime. Others think that prisoner rape is irrelevant to their lives, because it happens behind bars. Too often, sexual violence in detention is used as a punchline in film and on television, or portrayed as fair punishment for criminals.

These misconceptions thrive because the voices of prisoners themselves are rarely heard. Most inmates are people of color from marginalized, low-income communities who lack the means to counter negative stereotypes about sexual violence behind bars. Further, the shame and stigma associated with sexual abuse makes it difficult for all survivors, whether in the community or behind bars, to speak out.

To shed light on the reality of rape behind bars and its impact on communities, JDI helps survivors of prisoner rape to share their stories. With JDI’s support, survivors have become forceful advocates for change, educating policy makers, the press, and the public on the crisis of prisoner rape -- and what can be done to stop it.

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Prisoner Rape as Entertainment