Lara Stemple, Letter, Altercation (Weblog,
Eric Alterman), MSNBC News, November 1, 2002.
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
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simplistic and outdated notions about rape and gender which must be
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.
Lara Stemple, JD
Stop Prisoner Rape
Eric replies: Hard to
argue with any of the above. Best of luck.