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 Policarpio and I am a survivor of sexual assault. My testimony will be most of all honest, with hopes that I can help you, the reader, understand the prison environment I live in and more importantly, shine a little light on one dark reality that takes places here on a daily basis, but goes unreported and that is sexual assault and rape.

To better understand my testimony, I have to take you back to March 15, 2001 the day I arrived to Delano State Prison Reception. On my way to prison, only 24 years old and with a life sentence. I’m not going to lie, I was scared! I had never been to prison and didn’t know what to expect. I could only go by what I’ve heard from others that had been to prison. And let me tell you it wasn’t anything nice.

I still remember the day I saw my counselor and I was told I would be going to Salinas Valley State Prison, Level 4. I told my “friends” around me and everyone said “that’s a fucked up prison, you’ll get stabbed for anything.” At that time Salinas Valley State Prison was the #1 prison in being the most violent, more violent than Pelican Bay State Prison.

On June 9, 2001 I was transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison. After being processed through R&R I was taken to my new house, Facility “C” (C-yard). As I enter the yard you could feel the tension in the air, everyone was walking on eggshells. A violent war between the Southern Hispanics and Blacks had ended a few days ago.

As soon as I enter my cell, a Southern Mexican came to my door, ask who I was and where I was from. I told him I was from Compton (Southern California). I didn’t know that made me part of the Southern Mexican prison gang. I was given a list of rules that all Southern Mexicans must fallow. One of the rules was that you must participate 100%, if asked to do something you must do it (i.e. assault someone/stab). All the other rules were simple, but still a lot of people/inmates would break them and therefore get stabbed.

On one occasion, I was out on the recreation yard with a friend that I new from the same city. We were talking when all of a sudden three Southern Mexicans begin to stab him and slice him in the face with a razor blade. I froze, didn’t know what to do. For a long time I couldn’t sleep without having nightmares about what happened to my friend, then I felt so guilty about not helping him.

In August 2003, I was transferred to CSP-Corcoran State Prison. I was so glad to leave Salinas Valley. But little did I know that it would be worse for me here at Corcoran.

I still remember four days before my 27th birthday in 2004 I was asked to stab another inmate. I couldn’t do it, not just because someone told me to. I told the shot caller NO, to get someone else to do his dirty work. That afternoon as we were walking to the dining room for the evening meal, I was violently attacked by two Southern Mexicans, leaving me unconscious with my face and body swollen and bruised. No one ever told me that if they ask you to do something and you don’t do it, they will also do it to you. That was a lesson to be learned.

In 2005, I was transferred to Kern Valley State Prison. And here was where I would be sexually assaulted by an employee of the Department of Corrections.

It all took place on our about the middle of November of 2005. I was housed at Kern Valley State Prison Facility “A”, Building “7”, C-pod, cell 226. I was standing in front of the toilet using the restroom when an MTA (Medical Technical Assistant) passed by my cell door, he quickly came back and looked down at my penis. I quickly turned in an attempt to cover myself. The MTA then left.

After the MTA left, my celly told me, “Hey fool! I think that MTA likes you.” I just told him, “Man, I ain’t no fag.”

The next time we went out to yard the shot-caller wanted to talk to me and basically wanted me to seduce the MTA so he could bring in drugs. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Automatically, I was afraid and scared of what I was being asked to do, but even more afraid of what would happen to me if I failed to do what I was being asked. The memories of being assaulted came back to me and I didn’t want to be hurt again. I told the shot-caller I would take care of it.

That same day around 4:30pm the MTA came to my cell door and asked if I smoked? I told him yes! The next day around the same time the MTA brought me a pack of Red Marlboros and a Bic lighter. He then reached inside my food port and tried to grab my penis. I quickly pulled away from the door and told the MTA “No man! What are you doing?” He just said “Come on now Honey, ain’t nothing for free.”

The next time we went out for yard, the shot-caller was waiting to talk to me (my celly had told him that I didn’t allow myself to be touched). It was obvious that he (shot caller) was mad. He then asked, what was going on, why wasn’t I sticking to the plan? He then began to threaten me by sending me on a mission (stab someone).

The same day around 4:30pm the MTA came to my cell door, opened the food port, handed me a pouch of tobacco. He then reached inside my cell and grabbed my penis and began to fondle me. I couldn’t take it! I pulled away feeling violated, ashamed, humiliated, but most of all scared.

This happened each time he came to building 7 to pass out medication. He would bring tobacco and sexually assault me every time. On one occasion he even performed oral sex on me. He (MTA) brought in drugs for the shot-caller one time.

The assaults happened from the middle of November 2005- the ending of January, 2006. The last time I saw him was the month of February 2006. Then he was transferred to another institution.

As time went by, I began to feel worse, the nightmares, the anxiety attacks. I felt so disgusted with myself, ashamed. Things got really bad for me, I couldn’t continue living, I wanted to die!

On February 24, 2007 , I found myself naked in a suicide room. Finally, I was able to tell someone of what happen to me. At first no one wanted to hear about it. As soon as they heard “sexual assault by staff” the conversation ended there. I started to think that maybe I should of never said nothing!

When I first told the staff of what happened, it seemed like I was re-living the whole thing because I had to re-tell the story over and over. At this point, my mental health deteriorated, I had to be placed on suicide watch twice.

Ever since then, I’ve slowly made a good recovery. I attended and finished a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) class. I am currently receiving mental health treatment and group therapy. I’ve come a long way, and want to become a survivor.

Prison rape and sexual assaults happen very often in here. No one knows about it because it goes unreported. Victims are not only afraid to complain because of the consequences of being labeled a snitch, but also because of the shame, humiliation, and embarrassment of being sexually assault by another man, not to mention the lack of cooperation one gets from staff.

I encourage you to come forward with your complaint not only to see justice but to personally begin to heal. You can not live with it inside all your life because sooner or later it will destroy your whole life. Talking about it is the first step to recovery.

Thank you for all your time.


-Policarpio, California

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