JDI IN THE NEWS - 2002

Lara Stemple, Letter, Altercation (Weblog, Eric Alterman), MSNBC News, November 1, 2002.

Dear Eric [Alterman],

       Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR) is a national human rights organization that seeks to end sexual violence against men, women, and youth in detention. I write concerning the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report, which has been covered widely in the press in recent days. What has not been noted, however, is the FBI’s practice of explicitly excluding male rape in its well-know statistics on violent crime.
        Despite the fact that one in ten incarcerated men report that they have been raped in prison, the FBI report defines “forcible rape” as a crime committed only against women. This practice ignores the vast numbers of men who are raped and sexually brutalized in prison. Male prisoner rape victims have been left beaten and bloodied, they have suffered long-term psychological harm, and they have contracted HIV. The FBI’s current approach trivializes the suffering of male rape victims, and we have called on the FBI to revise its categories to include the rape of men as a violent crime.
        Unlike many state penal codes that use a gender-neutral approach to rape, the FBI’s crime report defines forcible rape as, ”(t)he carnal knowledge of a female forcibly against her will,” and it states that it “has traditionally defined rape victims as female.” This reflects overly simplistic and outdated notions about rape and gender which must be revised.
        The rape of men in prison is a serious human rights abuse that is dehumanizing and sometimes deadly. When the FBI looks at violent crime, it should not ignore these victims.

Sincerely,
Lara Stemple, JD
Executive Director
Stop Prisoner Rape
www.spr.org

Eric replies: Hard to argue with any of the above. Best of luck.