SURVIVOR RESPONSES TO THE PRISON RAPE ELIMINATION ACT STANDARDS

"While I was in an Arkansas state prison, I was raped by at least 27 different inmates over a nine-month period. I don’t have to tell you that it was the worst nine months of my life. Everything that happened to me could have been avoided if the prison was accountable for inmates’ safety. Standards are needed to protect people like me." - Bryson, a bisexual man who contracted HIV after repeated sexual assaults by inmates. (Just Detention International.)

"The standards include provisions that would have made a huge difference in my case. If there had been better ways for me to report the threats and advances, without fear that the officer would hear about it, I might never have been raped."

– Loretta, who was sexually assaulted by a corrections officer and was targeted by staff and other inmates for reporting the abuse

"I was a target of sexual harassment and abuse throughout my incarceration. Prison officials did little to provide protection for me, despite the numerous complaints I made. Standards that require officials to take into account the fact that someone is non-violent, gay or of small stature, like me, could save a person from the horrible experiences I had."

– Thomas, an openly gay man who was raped by another inmate in a California prison

"Prisoner rape is not just a statistic for those of us who have lived through it—it is a life-shattering experience. This violence has to stop and I hope these standards keep others from having to experience the abuse that I endured."

– Frank, who was beaten and sexual assaulted by staff in the Los Angeles County Jail

"The reality is that rape is widespread and prisoner rape survivors feel hopeless. While I was in prison, the fear of retaliation by staff or other prisoners haunted me and prevented me from reporting the rape right away. My fear led me to attempt suicide just to escape the pain of my situation. If strong national standards were in place when I was in prison, my abuse may have never happened."

– Garrett, who was sexually assaulted by a corrections officer in a Texas prison


"Even though I was the victim, I have been made to feel like I did something wrong. When I tried to report the abuse, I was provided with no support and had to continue being supervised by this officer who continued to abuse me. Federal officials need standards that tell them what to do to prevent sexual abuse, and how to respond when it does happen."

– Rebecca, who was raped by a corrections officer at a federal prison camp


"Sexual assault was never supposed to be part of my sentence, but I am one of thousands of people who have endured such abuse while in government custody. The standards are an important step in the right direction. Without them, who knows how many other prisoners will have to go through the abuse that I did."

– Policarpio, who was sexually abused by staff in a California prison


"To prevent abuse in the first place, there must be education; educating inmates as to what to look for and what to be careful of, and educating investigators so that they understand the victimization process and what they put us through."

– Nicole, who was raped by two different staff members at a California prison

"Officials must make sure inmates are housed safely and supervised by staff at all times. If corrections officials were more aware of how to work with transgender inmates and others who are in great danger, prison would be safer."

– Valjean, a transgender woman who has been gang-raped by inmates and sexually abused by corrections staff in several institutions

"As inmates we have no power, and when it comes down to it, we are nothing but inmates. If the standards had been in place when I first got to prison, maybe I never would have been sexually assaulted by the Captain. The standards also make clear that inmates should not be punished for coming forward to report abuse."

– Alisha, a 25-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted for months by two high-ranking corrections officials

"The retaliation that I have suffered by guards and inmates alike for reporting my sexual assaults has been horrible and never-ending. The only way that I will be safe is for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to be required to take the basic measures to prevent sexual abuse and to make sure that victims are protected. If someone is raped, they should be encouraged to come forward and not punished for reporting."

– Carlos, who has been targeted by inmates and staff for reporting an assault by a corrections officer in Texas

"Often, people think that you deserve whatever happens to you in prison because you have committed a crime. But no one should be sexually assaulted by an officer. Inmates have no power to protect themselves, so we rely on the officers to make it a safe environment. Strong standards can make prisons safer."

– Ivory, who was repeatedly sexually abused by a female corrections officer in a Texas prison


"I know firsthand the harm that is caused when corrections systems do not have policies in place to protect people who report sexual assault, and I hope these standards ensure that no other survivor has to go through the retaliation I suffered."

– Johanna, who was raped by a corrections officer and placed in segregated housing in response to her report