A clear example is that of Dee Farmer, a young preoperative transsexual with "overtly feminine characteristics" who was placed in regular housing in a maximum-security federal prison. Supreme Court--arguing that as a transsexual she was extremely likely to face sexual assault in prison. But a prisoner does not have to look like a woman to be vulnerable to such abuse.
Rather, a broad range of factors are correlated with increased vulnerability to rape, some related to perceived femininity, some entirely unrelated. Specifically, prisoners fitting any part of the following description are more likely to be targeted: Prisoners with any one of these characteristics typically face an increased risk of sexual abuse, while prisoners with several overlapping characteristics are much more likely than other prisoners to be targeted for abuse.
The characteristics of prison rapists are somewhat less clear and predictable, but certain patterns can nonetheless be discerned. First, although some older inmates commit rape, the perpetrators also tend to be young, if not always as young as their victims--generally well under thirty-five years old.
They are frequently larger or stronger than their victims, and are generally more assertive, physically aggressive, and more at home in the prison environment. They are "street smart"--often gang members. They have typically been convicted of more violent crimes than their victims. The myth of the "homosexual predator" is groundless. Perpetrators of rape typically view themselves as heterosexual and, outside of the prison environment, prefer to engage in heterosexual activity.
Although gay inmates are much more likely than other inmates to be victimized in prison, they are not likely to be perpetrators of sexual abuse. The elements of race and ethnicity have a complex and significant bearing on the problem of prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse. As previously discussed, racial and ethnic distinctions are nowhere more salient than they are in prison: Inter-racial sexual abuse is common only to the extent that it involves white non-Hispanic prisoners being abused by African Americans or Hispanics.
In contrast, African American and Hispanic inmates are much less frequently abused by members of other racial or ethnic groups; instead, sexual abuse tends to occur only within these groups.
While all of the above factors are relevant and important, none should not viewed as controlling. In the wrong circumstances, it should be emphasized, almost any prisoner may be at risk of sexual abuse. Proper classification and monitoring of vulnerable prisoners should be one aspect of a rape prevention plan, but only one aspect: Age Young or youthful-looking inmates are at particular risk of rape. Examples such as Rodney Hulin, the seventeen-year-old Texas inmate whose case is described above, illustrate this linkage.
Placed in an adult prison and repeatedly raped by older inmates, Hulin committed suicide in In , the mother of an Arkansas prisoner contacted Human Rights Watch to report that her son, a friend of his who was only sixteen, and a third prisoner were all raped in the same cellblock in April of that year.
Sorry for taking so long to write, but I have been having a lot of trouble. I got into a fight and I got a broke bone in my arm. It don't hurt that bad. Now about the trouble I have been having. I have had 2 people try to rape me. I have tryed to go to P. When I was in B pod I had 3 dude's coming to me that said they was the only thing that was keeping me from getting raped, and they wanted to jack off and look at me. The pod I'm in now I had 2 people come to me and put a ink pen to my neck and tell me that if I didn't let them jack off on me they were going to rape me.
I told the officer but they didn't do any thing about it. Prisoners in other institutions have confirmed that R. A Florida prisoner said: Mostely young youthful Boy's are raped because of their youth and tenderness, and smooth skin that in the mind of the one duing the raping he think of the smooth skin and picture a woman. Prisoners even fight each other over a youth without the young man knowing anything about it to see whom will have the Boy first as his property.
The kids I know of here are kept in the hospital part of the prison until they turn Then they are placed in general population. At age 16, they are just thrown to the wolves, so to speak, in population. I have not heard of one making it more than a week in population without being "laid. A Utah inmate told Human Rights Watch: I did nine years from March to November In that 9 years I was raped several times. I never told on anyone for it, but did ask the officer for protective custody.
But I was just sent to another part of the prison. Sent to another part of the prison. One spoke of "a guy who has served over 20 years, and he is a tough guy.
Although very young prisoners--those under twenty--are likely to be abused by prisoners who are older than them, most inmates in their twenties who reported abuse to Human Rights Watch were not abused by inmates significantly older than they were.
In one extreme example, an inmate who described himself as "a small person weighing only about pounds" told Human Rights Watch of an attack "by a man about 6'7" and weighing approximately pounds. Very small inmates face an especially difficult time in prison. Human Rights Watch interviewed a Texas prisoner who was only five feet tall. He said he was so vulnerable he felt like "a hunted animal" most of the time. Strong, physically imposing inmates are safer from sexual abuse.
An inmate's size and strength is particularly important in terms of fending off unwanted advances from cellmates, a fairly common problem. Yet size and strength alone, inmates emphasized, are never an absolute guarantee against abuse.
An inmate has to prove that he will stand up for himself against intimidation. A strong, aggressive attitude is just as necessary as physical strength. Inmates perceived as timid, fearful, "passive," or not aggressive are likely to be targeted for victimization, whereas inmates who have gained the respect of their fellows are likely to be safe. As one inmate explained: Smaller, weaker, meeker individuals are usually targets. Meeker individuals tend to "act Gay" is how it's described here and in turn invites assault through the agressors mind.
A new inmate needs to come into the system ready to fight and with a strong mind. Describing his situation, he said: So one day I goes to the day room going to get my medication there was a big Black guy both of them call me to the back of the day room. I didn't want to fight them they made me call them daddy, made kept repeating it.
I don't no my rights or about the law, so I'm hit everytime I go to prison. Even more importantly, they tend to be better established in the inmate hierarchy. Often they are gang members with a network of inmate allies.
This is, of course, particularly true with gang rapes, but it is also true with individual acts of abuse. A less established prisoner may be intimidated into submitting to sex with a powerful inmate or gang member out of fear that, were he to refuse, a more violent gang attack would ensue.
As this might suggest, newly incarcerated first offenders are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse. Lacking allies, unfamiliar with the unwritten code of inmate rules, and likely to feel somewhat traumatized by the new and threatening environment, they are easy prey for experienced inmates. My first mistake was not hanging out with the ignorant tough guys, and staying in my cell most of the time: I wasn't ready for the clique action.
The prison was a gladiator farm back then; I kept getting into fights and finally I couldn't do it any more. I was getting beaten up every day for a month. Describing the dangers of this initial entry period, an Arkansas prisoner told Human Rights Watch: When a new inmate enters an open barracks prison it triggers a sort of competition among the convicts as to who will seduce and subjugate that new arrival. Subjugation is mental, physical, financial, and sexual. Every new arrival is a potential victim.
Unless the new arrival is strong, ugly, and efficient at violence, they are subject to get seduced, coerced, or raped. Psychosocially, emotionally, and physically the most dangerous and traumatic place I can conceive of is the open barracks prison when first viewed by a new inmate.
When an inmate comes in for the first time and doesnt know anyone. The clicks and gangs. Watch him like Wolves readying there attacks. They see if he spends time alone, who he eats with. Its like the Wild Kingdom. Then they start playing with him, checking the new guy out. They call him fresh meat. Since prisoner-on-prisoner rape is by definition homosexual, in that it involves persons of the same sex, its perpetrators are unthinkingly labeled predatory homosexuals.
This terminology is deceptive, however, in that it ignores the fact that the vast majority of prison rapists do not view themselves as gay.
Rather, most such rapists view themselves as heterosexuals and see the victim as substituting for a woman. From this perspective the crucial point is not that they are having sex with a man; instead it is that they are the aggressor, as opposed to the victim--the person doing the penetration, as opposed to the one being penetrated. Indeed, if they see anyone as gay, it is the victim even where the victim's sexual orientation is clearly heterosexual.
An Illinois prisoner explained inmates' views on the question: The theory is that you are not gay or bisexual as long as YOU yourself do not allow another man to stick his penis into your mouth or anal passage. Although outsiders may perceive male prisons as a bastion of gay sexuality, the reality is quite different.