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.

My name is Cornelius. I’m a black African American man and this is my recovery story.

As a child, I was molested by a relative. When I was sentenced to 30 years on July 27, 1995, I was 18 years old. At my permanent camp, I was sexually assaulted at knifepoint by an older gentleman inside his cell. From there, I never told anyone for fear of being exposed as gay or killed for snitching. Remember, I was 18 year old, a first time prisoner and naive to the prison game.

For years, I lived in fear hiding the pain and hurt I felt. I started cutting my arms to hide the pain from being violated. I was then transferred for that reason. I went to another facility. Still, I never revealed that happened to me.

Then, in 2004, I was sexually assaulted again, this time by physical force. As a result, I contracted HIV. That alone ripped my world apart. I felt exposed, like life was over for me. I had thoughts of not living to have a family, kids, and a woman to love me.

Today, I still think it’s impossible, but through it all, through the help of Just Detention International (JDI), it gave me hope, a hope to know I can overcome my fears. Every day, I meditate with the packet. It’s helping! I’m learning to let go and let God handle my problems.

I’m hoping for tomorrow. That’s because of people like JDI.

- Cornelius, Florida

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