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.

During the first weeks of my incarceration, I was attacked and raped in the shower by two other inmates while a third stood look-out. As a result, I’ve learned to live with the unending emotional stress, nightmares, grief, anger, shame, fear and even embarrassment. All of these emotions came at me in an endless stream that I feel I will sometimes drown in. I believe the one emotion I feel more than all others is despair. It’s been barely six years since this happened to me, but it feels like yesterday. I awake some nights after only being asleep 20 minutes with the feeling of being raped and torn open all over again

I can still taste and smell the soap from the washcloth that had been crammed in my mouth to silence my screams. I told them I would buy them anything they wanted from the commissary, if they would just stop, but they ignored me. I am a slave to my hatred of these two people and to the powers that be in here for allowing this to happen to me and to everyone else that had to endure this pain.

I struggle so hard to make sense of something that makes no sense. I’ve tried to confront my demons by acquiring these vocational certificates and several college courses while in here, but often I get so consumed with negative thoughts, I lose concentration and focus. I get so angry at myself for not being able to function properly. Other times, I’m afraid of sending out the wrong signals to other inmates and that the cruelty of that day may happen all over again.

Because of the rape, I have contracted HIV, which I am currently taking medicine for. Sometimes I wish it would just hurry up and kill me so I will be free of the mental anguish! I know this sounds selfish because I have two beautiful children, not to mention my other family and friends that would miss me terribly. But the stress, anxiety, and preoccupation with thoughts of the events have left an indelible stain in my mind that could never be erased. All I can hope to accomplish is to keep on persevering and pray times will get a little easier.

I don’t know how it would be possible for anyone who has had to endure similar agonies to gain any strength from my sufferings, but if my story helps anyone at all in their pain, than it would make it a little worthwhile.

- Chris, Illinois

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