PRESS RELEASES - 2007

Los Angeles:
First-Ever Prisoner Rape Survivor Summit

Los Angeles, February 13, 2007 – Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR), a national human rights organization dedicated to ending sexual violence in detention, is proud to host the first-ever Prisoner Rape Survivor Summit, in Los Angeles on February 16-17, 2007. Former inmates from across the country, all of whom endured devastating abuse while incarcerated, will gather to share their stories and to develop a unique set of policy recommendations for the prevention of this type of violence.

“These brave men and women define what it means to be a survivor,” said Lovisa Stannow, Co-Executive Director of SPR. “They have suffered unspeakable pain, but instead of being silenced by their trauma they are transforming themselves into advocates, speaking out in the hope of protecting others.”

Since the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in 2003, SPR has worked hard to ensure that survivors of rape behind bars are able to contribute to the meaningful implementation of the law. At the Survivor Summit, participants will develop detailed recommendations for ending prisoner rape, which will be submitted directly to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. The Commission is currently drafting national standards for addressing sexual violence in detention and has assured SPR that the survivor recommendations will be taken into account in that process.

“The only way I can imagine turning what happened to me into something positive is to make America’s prisons safer,” said Garrett Cunningham, who was raped by a corrections official in a Texas state prison. “As survivors, we know first-hand about the horrors of prisoner rape. We have perspectives and insights that no psychologist, academic or government official can provide.”

In addition to developing policy recommendations, Survivor Summit participants will have the opportunity to hone their public speaking and advocacy skills. Through group sessions led by mental health experts, participants will also get to tell their stories, hear about the experiences of fellow survivors, and explore as a group the challenges and opportunities they have identified in their efforts to heal.

 

For more information about the Survivor Summit, or to speak with a summit participant, please contact Amber Durfield at 213.384.1400 x 102 or adurfield@spr.org.