For People Behind Bars, Reporting Sexual Assault Leads to More Punishment
Date:  10-01-2018

People who report sexual assault in prison are often punished by being put in solitary confinement
From the article by Victoria Law in Truthout:

When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford broke a decades-long silence about nearly being violently raped by Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court nominee, her allegations were met with death threats. Her address was published, forcing her family to relocate; people followed her on freeways and attempted to enter her place of work. At the same time, her detractors questioned the legitimacy of her accusations, noting that she did not report the attempted rape. These criticisms are nothing new—countless survivors have faced similar challenges for not reporting assaults and attempted assaults. This is particularly true for incarcerated survivors, who know that reporting sexual abuse is more likely to result in more punishment for them—and little to no accountability for the person who harmed them.

When Carolee first entered the Texas prison system in 2016, she was shown a video explaining what to do if she were sexually assaulted. “The video did not show any difficulties and it made you feel comfortable and safe if you told,” Carolee recalled. One year later, however, she found out just how wrong the video was. While in the shower, Carolee’s cellmate grabbed her breast. Carolee shrieked, her cellmate backed off, and nothing more happened. The next day, Carolee approached a prison officer, reported the assault and asked to be moved to another cell.

“After that, things just got absolutely ridiculous,” Carolee, who is still imprisoned in Texas and asked that her last name not be used, told Truthout. Staff did move her—to “segregation” (otherwise known as solitary confinement), where she spent 15 days locked in a cell by herself. “Then I was taken to an interrogation room where the Safe Prisons person asked me all these questions,” she said. “I told them it wasn’t that bad, she didn’t rape me or anything, I just felt uncomfortable being in the same room with her and I didn’t want her to try it again the next time we were alone in the shower. They came up with the assumption that I had made the entire thing up…. For filing a ‘false’ OPI [Offender Protection Investigation], I couldn’t go to commissary for 30 days.” Continue reading >>>