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.

My name is Jonathan and I am a 33-year-old male. This is my story. 

I met an inmate named Stephen while working in the prison kitchen together. Word on the compound was he and the food service department associate warden, Mr. Miller, were having a sexual relationship. Mr. Miller is a sexual predator and Stephen was only one of his numerous victims. And I know that the prison officials knew. But instead of dealing with Mr. Miller, the prison just transferred his victims. Every time someone came forward to tell on Mr. Miller, the response would be, “Oh, you’re accusing one of my officers, okay, we got something for you.” People would get locked up and transferred to a far away prison. There was no one to run to. Miller had complete access to do as he pleased. It would take me over 300 pages to write down everything I saw, but what I’m getting at is not once did the prison officials—with all this information being given to them—do anything about it. With all the reports about sex and contraband, they never installed one camera.

You know how easy it would have been for me to come forward if prison officials took reports seriously and conducted investigations. There would have been proof I was being molested for ten months and then raped. Miller worked me for two years, he gave me a job that would keep me close to him. He made me the number one cook.

I didn’t want to be with him. I felt stuck, obligated, scared, hypnotized, threatened. So this jerk took me into his office storage room and raped me. I pulled away and then he did it again. The whole time I felt helpless because I couldn’t fight him off, knowing he would just say I attacked him. And the only thing I could think of the whole time was, “Blood, AIDS is spread through blood.” For about five months I thought I had AIDS. I knew how many people Miller was having sex with and thought, “Oh no, this guy has got to have AIDS.”

After the assault, I went into zombie mode and walked to the prison medical office and told them I needed to be checked for AIDS. I was so scared of what Miller would do to my family, so I told them I was raped by another inmate. They told me the only way I could go to the hospital for treatment was to tell them a name, so I gave them a fake name. The FBI showed up the next day to question me. They made me feel like I could trust them so I told them it was Miller. They were able to prove what I was saying was true—the rape kit, all the piled up complaints, Stephen coming forward. They saw that prison was a place of sexual torment. 

On top of being raped I was told I was HIV positive. That killed me inside. After almost taking my own life, I was told later on that it was a mistake and that I was actually HIV negative. But Miller was in fact HIV positive. The FBI immediately put me on HIV inhibitors. I’m HIV negative as of today but I still have to get tested every three months. I’m still afraid I might have HIV because I’ve read it could be dormant for five years.

The FBI was great. They supported me 100% and took this crime very seriously. They always checked on my status and condition when I was in lockdown waiting for my transfer. My perpetrator ended up pleading guilty in exchange for a plea bargain in 2011 and faces 15 years in prison. I’ve since been transferred to another prison.

But do I feel safe? No. I think I’ll die one day at the hands of the Bureau of Prisons. My perpetrator was well loved and had power and many friends.

I was on the fast-track to rehabilitation before all this happened. I learned to read and write. I’ve read over 300 books. I’ve studied just about every world religion and I can even tell you how human cells work. I’ve done nothing but learn and study and search for more knowledge since I’ve been in prison. But this experience has hindered that process. Congress needs to enforce policy and make the Prison Rape Elimination Act standard in all prisons.

- Jonathan, Florida

All names have been changed to protect the survivor’s privacy.

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