"I was supposed to be the protector"
Winona is a proud mom. She and her husband, Larry, are retired now. They still go to church twice a week, and they raised their only child, Scott, in the church where his grandmother was one of the Sunday school teachers.
Winona laughs often when talking about Scott's childhood. "Scott was the type of child who always told me everything, whether I wanted to hear it or not -- even when he became a teenager. We were always very close."
After Scott left home at the age of 18, he and Winona still talked at least three or four times a week. She was stunned when Scott ended up in prison for corporate theft and tax fraud. "Never would I have thought that he would be in any kind of trouble. He's intelligent. He did well in school. It was a shock."
It got much worse, though. During one of his phone calls from prison, Scott told his parents that he'd been raped by a gang member. He ended up getting beaten and raped again and again, while staff ignored his pleas for help.
Winona and Larry were devastated. "If it hadn't been for the Lord, we wouldn't have made it. I was supposed to be the protector. And I couldn't be. I just couldn't be."
Knowing that Scott was able to get support from JDI, from people who understood what he was up against, made all the difference to Winona. She explained, "He didn't just want to talk to family. We'd be there for him, but we couldn't really tell him what he needed to know. Hearing from JDI, hearing about other people who had gone through the same thing -- that helped him stop feeling so ashamed. He found out he wasn't alone."
Scott told us, "JDI's first letter showed up only three days prior to the date I had selected to end my life and it gave me the hope necessary to rebuild my desire to live."
Scott is out of prison now. With Winona and Larry's love and support, he's putting his life back together.
This Mother's Day, help us reach out to the thousands of other mothers' sons and daughters who are still behind bars, and still going through what Scott did. Every time a prisoner rape survivor writes to JDI, we respond immediately. Again and again, survivors describe how our letters changed -- even saved -- their lives.