Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR) Laments Movie's Portrayal of Rape in Detention

Los Angeles, November 20, 2006 – The national human rights organization Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR) deplores the flippant portrayal of sexual violence in a new comedy by Universal Pictures. In Let's Go to Prison, released nationwide last Friday, rape is the subject of back-to-back jokes and crude innuendo.

"While humor can be an effective way to address social anxieties, it can also trivialize and dehumanize. That's why no movie studio would touch a script that makes fun of the rape of women or children," said Lovisa Stannow, Co-Executive Director of SPR. "It is disheartening to see that Universal Pictures still considers the sexual assault of male inmates joke-worthy."

The United States incarcerates a larger proportion of its population than any other country in the world. Currently, 2.2 million men, women, and youth are behind bars. The best available research has found that as many as one in five men suffers sexual violence while incarcerated. Those most frequently targeted for rape are young, non-violent, first-time offenders, especially if they are effeminate, gay, or transgender.

With little or no institutional protection, victims of prisoner rape are left beaten and bloodied, contract HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and suffer severe psychological harm. Once released – and some 95 percent of American prisoners do eventually get out – they return to their communities with all of the emotional and physical scars derived from prison traumas.

"Sexual violence in detention shatters human dignity and derails justice, but as long as late-night television shows, sitcoms, and movies deem this type of abuse amusing, there will be no public outcry to end it," said Stannow.

For more information, please contact Amber Durfield at 213-384-1400, ext 102.

Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR) is a national human rights organization based in Los Angeles. SPR works to end sexual violence against men, women, and youth in detention. To achieve that goal, SPR seeks to: engender policies that ensure institutional accountability for prisoner rape; change ill-informed public attitudes toward sexual assault behind bars; and promote access to resources for survivors of this type of violence.


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