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.

On November 23, 2008 I was in line to go to lunch. We were all subjected to a pat search by our dorm officer at the Crain Unit in Gatesville, Texas, Terrace Satellite. When I was being pat searched by her, I was physically violated through my clothes. The officer squeezed my breast with gripping force, then proceeded to my private area between my thighs and cupped and gripped my vagina for at least 2-3 seconds. She squeezed my butt cheeks before ending the pat search.

I immediately verbally complained of her violating so called pat search, she told me that that was my problem and continued her pat search on others doing the same gestures to them. I told her I was going to write her up on a grievance and she became very angry. She continued this type of pat search the next two or three encounters I had with her. On the last one, she demanded I come back and she did my search doing the same thing I described earlier. Only this time she used her middle finger to attempt penetration. She slowly moved her fingers up the back of my butt crack and started to laugh. I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say or do at that moment.

There were at least 2 or more offenders who saw this and also complained of her inappropriate pat searches. She again replied, “That’s your problem.” I wrote Safe Prisons and requested my third grievance to report her actions. I never heard from the Safe Prisons office. However, the lieutenant called me into his office. He stated that he did not believe me and that the officer was a retired police officer and that’s the way she did pat searches. I told him it was very inappropriate and violating. He further told me that any complaints I or anyone else had against her was only making her look good and as if she was doing a great job. He was thinking of telling all officers to use her technique of pat searching. I told him I would prefer to be strip searched by the officer if that’s what she was going to continue doing. He told me before dismissing me in the presence of a sergeant that I was to report any further incidents to a sergeant or himself.

I did not have any contact with the officer the remainder of December, ’08. On January 25, 2009 or somewhere in that time frame, the officer returned to working the dorm where I was housed only to do her same inappropriate pat search. I tried to report it by writing an I-60 form of complaint to the first shift sergeant, never getting a response. I tried speaking to a first and second shift sergeant. They were always too busy. Even thesergeant brushed me off stating to me to tell the lieutenant when he came in. I never could catch him to speak with him so I filed another grievance.

I received my step one and step two grievances except one, stating there was no evidence to prove my complaint of inappropriate pat searches. They further stated I received a pat search within the agency guidelines. No further action warranted signed by the warden. My step 2 was returned stating no evidence to validate my claims that staff touched me in an inappropriate manner. No further action warranted signed by the Regional Director.

Being made aware that the officer was working the dorm I was housed in, I immediately went to a sergeant who was on duty and explained my situation. I requested someone to supervise the officer while she pat searched me or if she could avoid physical contact by strip searching me visually. He told me I had no rights as a prisoner and to return to my dorm. I did as I was told.

The officer immediately started to harass me. I gave her my jacket and my necessary clothing I had for her to check. She then asked me to turn around to be pat searched. I ask her for someone to watch her pat search me due to our history and my complaints that were responded to as insufficient evidence or no evidence found. She told me to step aside and pat searched my two co-workers who were witnesses that I never refused to be pat searched.

She then called a sergeant. He came immediately with two other officers. A female officer attempted to pat search me. She was stopped by the sergeant who told the [other] officer to pat search me while they watched. The officer did correctly pat search me not displaying any of the usual violations. I told her so that proves you know the proper way to pat search and you are purposely violating me.

The sergeant told me I was on 24 hour cell arrest and 24 hour activity restriction. The officer told him I had an off unit doctor’s appointment. He denied me my medical appointment as well. I had done nothing to deserve such punishment. This was a form of retaliation on the officer’s behalf.

I got the JDI info from a Peer Educator and I received a packet from them full of great information and they had spoken to officials at my prison facility. I was free of this officer for another month. I was recently moved off of the Crain Unit in Gatesville to a maximum security unit at Hobby Facility in Marlin, TX. It is a farther trip for my family and I am housed in a punishment dorm. It is another act of retaliation and a way to try to avoid my complaint.

I was further informed that none of my reports or records of sexual assault was sent to Hobby Facility with me. I am still waiting on my step two grievances. After I receive them, I intend to pursue criminal charges and court proceedings. I am praying my demands for remedy are met to avoid further action, but we shall see. I am so far healthy and safe at this new unit. However, it is a much more violent and dangerous environment and I do not deserve such confinement for speaking out against my predator.

That’s my story and I am one of the more fortunate victims. I have however been mentally affected by this ordeal and all the retaliation surrounding it. I pray I am going to return to Gatesville for my family travel mostly. However, I am so far doing ok and adjusting one day at a time. I’ve had to endure pat searches, but none have been close to the inappropriate pat searches by the officer.

No violation is ever ok no matter the depth of the violation, no matter how insignificant you or others may feel it is. Sexual assault comes in all forms and it is all a crime and violation of you and your rights. Because my sexual assault and harassment was done while I was still clothed does not make it any less violating or wrong.

Many people tried to convince me I was making too much of the situation, but after I contacted JDI and I read all of the material they provided me with I felt stronger and more confident to step out of the darkness and into the light. I do not regret one minute of my decision to speak out against my predator. Never let anyone make you feel like it is OK to be sexually assaulted, harassed, or raped no matter what. If it is sexual and done against your will, it is wrong and deserves to be outed. Speak up and speak out. There are people who care.

Thank you again JDI . Your help is greatly appreciated and I look forward to working with your organization in the future. May God bless you and all you do.

- Beverly, Texas

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