SURVIVOR TESTIMONY

Some of these stories are graphic, uncensored accounts of actual rapes and surrounding circumstances. The language used may be raw and include street slang. JDI has made only minor edits for spelling and clarity. The views expressed are those of the individual survivor/author, and are not necessarily the views of Just Detention International.

I am 28 years old, about 5’5” tall, I weigh about 145 pounds and I am a transgender woman. This is my first time in real prison and I am currently incarcerated at a men’s state prison in Texas.

I have been in the TDCJ for almost two years now and I have found it extremely difficult to live in general population. Here in Texas there is something called safekeeping which is a set-up for inmates that are vulnerable because they are gay, weak, scared, ex-gang members, or some other reason. I found out about safekeeping after I had already run across many safety issues. Once I did find out that there was a place where I could feel safer, I repeatedly requested a transfer, but my attempts to get into safekeeping have been ignored. It is evident to the officers that I am having major problems in my current unit, but still they refuse to classify me into safekeeping.

Because officers are not doing anything to protect me I get into trouble so that I can be placed in solitary confinement where I don’t have to deal with the general population inmates. In general population I have been extorted. I have had to ride with a gang for protection from another, more violent gang; and I have had to do sexual favors for gang members. I have also had to do other favors such as hold contraband, transfer contraband to other inmates, and wash laundry, clean, and cook for gang members. I am an artist so in order to pay for my protection I have drawn and sold portraits. I am tired of being scared and of having to do things against my will because I am scared. I just can’t seem to get help from anyone. I did spend two months in safekeeping at a different unit, and I felt much safer, but then I was transferred and once again placed in general population where the cycle of extortion and sexual assault continues.

I’m tired and I’m scared and I no longer want to be anybody’s property or have to pay money so that I won’t be hurt. I have written to several offices of the TDCJ, including the Office of the Inspector General and the State Classification Committee, but I have not received a response or any information. It is as if my safety doesn’t matter to anybody and that’s why I do whatever these inmates tell me to do. I don’t want to contract HIV or any other STD, but I’m worried that if things don’t change I will eventually be infected with something.

-Anonymous

Back to Survivor Testimony next >>