Tag Archive: anti-rape

Why Americans Don’t Care About Prison Rape

alcatraz_prison_block_cc_imgFrom The Nation

In June of 2012, the New York Times “Room for Debate” feature considered whether or not convicted youth offenders should be treated differently than adult convicts in the penal system. Those in favor of trying some youth offenders in adult courts included a victims’ advocate, and an attorney from the conservative Heritage Foundation; those against included an inmate at California’s San Quentin prison, and a human rights activist. The victims’ advocate and the attorney from the Heritage Foundation talked about extreme cases of violence and the benefits of stern consequences. The inmate and the human rights activist talked about rape.

“The suicide and sexual abuse rates of younger prisoners are higher than those of the physically mature,” Gary Scott, the inmate, noted: “how can rehabilitation be possible in such a dangerous environment?” Scott was incarcerated at age sixteen.

T.J. Parsell, the human rights advocate, put it like this: “In early 2003, I testified on Capitol Hill with Linda Bruntmyer, a mother from Texas whose 17-year-old son was incarcerated after setting a trash bin on fire. In prison, he was raped repeatedly. He later hanged himself inside his cell. I felt a special bond with Linda, because I too had been raped in prison at 17.”

Taken together, the accounts of the carceral system featured in the Times’s roundtable on youth offenders span the entire American conception of prison itself. On one hand, prisons are understood as the terminus at the end of a long line of injustices adjudicated by a cold bureaucracy. On the other hand, American prisons are infamous for their brutality, especially when it comes to sexual violence. Being sent to prison is, in this sense, not the conclusion of the criminal justice process but the beginning of long-term torture.

That prisons routinely house thousands upon thousands of instances of sexual exploitation and rape is at the very least tolerated, and at most subtly appreciated as part of their punitive purpose. Our collective meh at the bracing reality of prison rape may be partially premised on the fact that the problem seems contained; but like most severe sicknesses, it only appears that way, and not for long. (more…)

INSURRECTO-RIOTOSIS

From Sub Media TV

This week we bring you an exclusive report on the pandemic that’s infecting the globe. Insurrecto-Riotosis. The first wave of the pandemic was reported in the city of Nantes in France following the police murder of 21 year old eco-defender Rémi Fraisse.

This contagion quickly spread to Belgium where 100,000 peeps hit the streets in Brussels to show their anger to a proposed package of austerity cuts.

In Mexico, insurrecto-riotisis is quickly turning into a full-fledged pandemic, as protests demanding the safe return of 43 students kidnapped on September 26th continue to escalate dramatically.

Also, Wal-Mart employees in Los Angeles staged their first-ever sit-down strike against the mammoth retail giant.

And all over Turtles Island, a massive fight-back against sexual violence and rape culture has blown up over social media.

On the music break, a killer mash up of Keny Arkana’s “La Rage” by DAM.

And this week we feature an interview with Andalusia Knoll, a journalist with the autonomous media collective “Subversiones” who breaks down the who, when, what, why, how of the insurrection in Mexico.

Against Carceral Feminism

“Prison Blueprints.” Remeike Forbes / Jacobin

From Jacobin / By Victoria Law

Relying on state violence to curb domestic violence only ends up harming the most marginalized women.

Cherie Williams, a thirty-five-year-old African-American woman in the Bronx, just wanted to protect herself from her abusive boyfriend. So she called the cops. But although New York requires police to make an arrest when responding to domestic violence calls, the officers did not leave their car. When Williams demanded their badge numbers, the police handcuffed her, drove her to a deserted parking lot, and beat her, breaking her nose, spleen, and jaw. They then left her on the ground.

“They told me if they saw me on the street, that they would kill me,” Williams later testified.

The year was 1999. It was a half-decade after the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which deployed more police and introduced more punitive sentencing in an attempt to reduce domestic violence. Many of the feminists who had lobbied for the passage of VAWA remained silent about Williams and countless other women whose 911 calls resulted in more violence. Often white, well-heeled feminists, their legislative accomplishment did little to stem violence against less affluent, more marginalized women like Williams.

This carceral variant of feminism continues to be the predominant form. While its adherents would likely reject the descriptor, carceral feminism describes an approach that sees increased policing, prosecution, and imprisonment as the primary solution to violence against women.

This stance does not acknowledge that police are often purveyors of violence and that prisons are always sites of violence. Carceral feminism ignores the ways in which race, class, gender identity, and immigration status leave certain women more vulnerable to violence and that greater criminalization often places these same women at risk of state violence. (more…)

Cindy Crabb Reading From New Issue of Doris Zine

dorisThursday, May 29th at 7:00 PM
Internationalist Books and Community Center

Cindy Crabb will be reading from the brand new Doris 31, joined by local zine writers. Check back for updates on what other writers will be joining the event!

Cindy Crabb has been writing the influential, internationally distributed, autobiographical-feminist zine Doris since the early ‘90’s. In it, she explores subjects like consent, feminism, abortion, death, self-image, creativity, shyness, queer identity, addiction, punk and anarchism. Crabb is the editor of the zines Support and Learning Good Consent. She lives in South-East Ohio with her miniature horses, plays in the punk band Snarlas, and is a sexual abuse survivor advocate.

“…zines are a space where third wave feminist theory is emerging, and many scholars don’t recognize this because they don’t read zines. They should read Doris.” -Alison Piepmeier, Author of Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism (more…)

New ACLU Report Examines Devastating Impact of Solitary Confinement on Women

ross-hawaii-youth-correctional-facility-kailua-hawaii-2009By Victoria Law/ From Solitary Watch

Today, the ACLU released Worse than Second Class: Solitary Confinement of Women in the United States. Recognizing that women in solitary are often ignored, the report examines the gendered impact of solitary and issues a series of recommendations. These recommendations assume that vulnerable populations will continue to be incarcerated and focus on ameliorating the harmful effects of solitary.

Further Harming Those with Mental Illness

Nearly seventy-five percent of incarcerated women have been diagnosed with mental illness, a rate much higher than that of their male counterparts. The report notes that a disturbing number of women with mental illness are held in solitary, sometimes for behavior that is beyond their control. Mental health experts recognize that long-term isolation is harmful for anyone, but particularly for those with pre-existing mental illness.

Recommendation: People (of all genders) with mental illness should never be held in isolation. Furthermore, women should be evaluated by competent and qualified practitioners to assess their medical and mental health conditions before being placed in solitary.

Re-Traumatizing Survivors of Past Abuse and Increasing Likelihood of Future Abuse

The majority of incarcerated women have reported past physical or sexual abuse. The lack of contact, human interaction and mental stimulation contribute to psychological deterioration for people who have experienced abuse. In addition, across the country, women in solitary are regularly supervised by male guards even when showering, changing clothes and using the toilet.

Solitary confinement also places a woman at greater risk for physical and/or sexual abuse by prison staff. Isolated from the general population, these abuses are easier for staff to hide. (more…)

New York Times Covers Prison Rape In Alabama

Monica Washington gave birth while in the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala. Her daughter, KaMyrrie, left, lives near Montgomery with a relative, Brenda Singleton, right.

Monica Washington gave birth while in the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala. Her daughter, KaMyrrie, left, lives near Montgomery with a relative, Brenda Singleton, right.

From The New York Times

WETUMPKA, Ala. — For a female inmate, there are few places worse than the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Corrections officers have raped, beaten and harassed women inside the aging prison here for at least 18 years, according to an unfolding Justice Department investigation. More than a third of the employees have had sex with prisoners, which is sometimes the only currency for basics like toilet paper and tampons.

But Tutwiler, whose conditions are so bad that the federal government says they are most likely unconstitutional, is only one in a series of troubled prisons in a state system that has the second-highest number of inmates per capita in the nation. (more…)

Women in Solitary Confinement: Sent to Solitary for Reporting Sexual Assault

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

From Solitary Watch

By Vikki Law

It seems absurd that a person who has been sexually assaulted would be punished for speaking up, especially since prison policy prohibits sexual contact between staff and the people whom they guard. Yet, in many women’s prisons, those who report rape and other forms of sexual assault by prison personnel are often sent to solitary confinement.

After enduring over a year of repeated sexual assaults by a guard, Stacy Barker became one of 31 women incarcerated in Michigan who filed Nunn v MDOC, a 1996 lawsuit against the Department of Corrections for the widespread sexual abuse by prison guards. The following year, Barker was repeatedly sexually assaulted by an officer, who was also a defendant in Nunn. After a month of silence, she reported the assaults to a prison psychiatrist. Barker was immediately placed in segregation and then transferred to Huron Valley Center, which was then a psychiatric hospital for prisoners. There, she reported that hospital attendants verbally harassed her.

In October 1997, Barker attempted suicide. Barker did not receive counseling or psychiatric evaluation. Instead, three male guards stripped her naked, placed her in five-point restraints (a procedure in which a prisoner is placed on her back in a spread-eagle position with her hands, feet and chest secured by straps) on a bed with no blanket for nine hours. She was then placed on suicide watch. She reported that one of the staff who monitored her repeatedly told her he would “bring her down a few rungs.” (more…)

Hacker who led Anonymous-sponsored hacks against police agrees to plea deal

CabinCr3wFrom arstechnica

A member of “CabinCr3w,” an Anonymous splinter group, has agreed to a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, according to court documents newly made available on Tuesday.

John Anthony Borell III of Toledo, Ohio (also known as @ItsKahuna) had been charged last year for using SQL injections to attack the websites of various law enforcement and public agencies., including the Utah Chiefs of Police, the Salt Lake City Police Department, and the City of Springfield, Missouri.

According to Borell’s plea deal (PDF), which was signed on April 15, 2013, he agreed that his actions violated a section of federal law addressing computer fraud, that he will serve 36 months in prison, and that he will have to pay nearly $230,000 in restitution to the various institutions that he hacked. The 22-year-old is slated to appear before a federal judge in Utah on August 21, 2013, who is expected to give final approval to the plea bargain.

The law appears to be catching up to Anonymous activists in recent weeks and months. Earlier this month, a 26-year-old Kentucky man named Deric Lostutter outed himself as KYAnonymous and provided a written account of an FBI search on his property in Winchester, Kentucky in April 2013. That search stemmed from online activism pertaining to the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. Lostutter’s search marks the latest in a string of occasions where Anons have been caught and unmasked and have pleaded guilty for their actions.

Accounting for Ourselves

afoFrom Crimethinc.

Sexual assault and abuse continue to plague anarchist circles and spaces. In response, we’ve developed processes to hold each other accountable outside of the state. But why can’t we seem to get them right? Our newest feature, Accounting for Ourselves, examines the context in which these community accountability models emerged, analyzes the pitfalls we’ve encountered in trying to apply them, and proposes new directions for our resistance.
Accounting for Ourselves: Breaking the Impasse Around Assault and Abuse in Anarchist Scenes

Printable ’zine (PDF; 750 KB)

Online reading ’zine version (PDF; 450 KB)

This is not intended to serve as an accessible introduction to community accountability processes; it assumes that you have some knowledge of what they are and how they work. If you don’t, here is a reading list offering thorough background.

New Poster Series Available, “Rape Culture is…”

rapecultureisFrom Anarchist News

This series of ten posters was created in the midst of an ongoing scandal at the University of North Carolina at CHapel Hill, which has recently been plagued by bad press for its role in suppressing information about sexual assault and in its treatment of several students raped on campus. After five students submitted a complaint to the US Department of Education, the Universityin turn threatened to expel via Honor Court one of the five women for creating an “intimidating environment” on campus for her rapist. The administration and Honor Court’s handling of events has resulted in an uproar, with large amounts of bad press, two protests, and a wave of graffiti and wheatpasting on campus.

A week prior to this initial complaint an attack anarchists smashed out five windows of a fraternity house on campus. This was followed with another act of vandalism in February. Discussions around tactics, analysis, and the role of non-students in attacking the rape culture perpetuated by structures at UNC have all been interesting and heated. The posters are not specific to the local situation, however, and we encourage to print and post them everywhere. They can be found here: http://www.mediafire.com/?v11n6uabc80xuo9,lv7yc7gnhg6k4n6,fw61psdvjcrqsn…

and here in a zip file here: https://hotfile.com/dl/197148148/5376849/Archive.zip.html

there are direct links to the pdfs on sprout distro: http://www.sproutdistro.com/2013/03/15/poster-series-rape-culture-is/