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.

To all survivors I want to express my deepest respect. You did nothing wrong and you will heal.

In 2007, when I was 22 years old, I was sexually assaulted by a CDCR correctional officer who I will call Q.

I was a dining room clerk at Salinas Valley State Prison. I worked from 4:15am until 11:15am. One morning when I came in for work, an officer named Q was there.

When he first saw me he said, “Damn, I didn’t know Halle Berry was here.” Which was a compliment -- being that I am transgender. I began blushing. All day he continued showering me with compliments and dreamy stares.

He continued over the next couple days. I foolishly began to return the looks and flirting back. That is when he began being physical with me. He’d walk past and grab my butt, he’d grind his penis against me and I quickly became uncomfortable. The situation became out of control. Q began being possessive of me. He would become angry if he saw male officers speaking to me, and when my co-workers spoke to me, Q would send them home early from work.

I wasn’t the bad guy, I was the victim. Yes, I made bad choices. I was young and impressionable. He was older, amazingly handsome and equally evil. When he called me beautiful, I felt validated as a woman! I loved the attention and welcomed it at first.

He was attractive, had power, a good job, and female staff went out of their way to get his attention, but he focused on me, a 22 year old transgender in prison. He could have so much, but he pretended to only want me. He was territorial and I was so consumed with delusion that I believed him that he would be with me when I got out. He brought me gifts and openly showed his want for me. It was all so intoxicating that when he did become abusive, that felt wrong, as if I had done something to cause it.

Even though we had never been sexually intimate, I felt like I belonged to him. I had never had a relationship, so I was confused. I felt like this is how love felt.

One morning on my assigned day off, Q called me into work. Toward the end of the day, he started rushing everyone out. I tried to leave, but he told me he needed my help. He guided me to his office and locked the door.

I felt my stomach tie into knots. When I started helping him with some paperwork, he grabbed my hand and rubbed it on his penis. He told me, “You like it, don’t you!” Then he told me to kiss it. I tried to play it off like he was playing and said, “I can’t do that!”

His eyes changed. He turned cold and said that I had to obey his command. He then instructed me to stand up. He unbuttoned my pants and started forcing his penis inside me. I was crying and telling him it hurts and he became excited and rough. I told him please stop. Q said, “This is what you wanted.

When he finished, he told me “If you gave me any STDs I’ll kill you.” At that moment he was called over the radio to respond to an incident on a different yard.

Afterwards he was completely indifferent to me. He acted as if he didn’t know me at all.

I took the blame for it all and felt like it was my fault for flirting with him, for allowing him to control me. I felt that I did something wrong so I never reported it. But JDI showed me that I wasn’t at fault.

I realize now that I was a baby, he manipulated me. Then when I refused to play his games he raped me. He was wrong.

I feel it is important to share my story because this man abused my trust, assaulted my emotion, manipulated me and killed my innocence.

- Toni Lynn, California

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