Wednesday, March 04, 2015

americans don't care about prison rape or what happens when the problem bleeds out from behind bars...,

thenation |  Rape is part of forcing prisoners to change, it’s what makes learning your lesson in prison scary, and scary prisons are what keep bad people in line.

Beyond Scared Straight is A&E’s reality show based on at-risk-teen behavioral modification. The goal is to expose youths who are at risk for incarceration to what prison life is like in order to deter future delinquency. In a 2011 episode, a former inmate forces a 14-year-old to pat Kool-Aid powder onto his lips and then lunges forward to kiss him, intimating in frantic yelling that this routine would conclude in his sexual exploitation in prison. Interviewed at the end of the episode, the 14-year-old admits he was made uncomfortable by the advance, but still claims the former inmate “doesn’t own [him]”; at the Huffington Post, this was tsk-tsked as evidence “he still doesn’t completely get what a different world prison can be.” Sexual exploitation in prison has its uses, in other words, and one of them is instructive.

Treatment of prison rape in ordinary television is often, with a few exceptions, bizarrely comical. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the iteration of the Law & Order franchise that made its fortune on rape theater, deploys the trope of prison rape with depressing regularity. In a surreal episode involving wild-animal smuggling, Christopher Meloni and Ice-T menace a wannabe hip-hop mogul during his interrogation by rolling dice and suggesting his cellmates will adopt the same procedure to determine the course of his rape. The suspect relents. The same scenario pans out in so many procedural cop dramas, with all due allusions to cellies named Bubba and pretty-boys-like-you. Even The X-Files had a go in a glibly comedic episode, wherein Detective Scully is urged to perjure herself lest she wind up with a Gertrude Stein–reading cellmate called “Large Marge.” The arrests of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton produce fantasies disguised as news. Fox News reported in 2010 that “lesbian prison gangs” were itching to get their hands on Lohan; whether the “report” was filed under “entertainment” because of the actress or the feverishly implied rape is unclear.

The logic perpetuated by ongoing ease with prison rape is that certain bad people in particular bad settings either deserve sexual assault or do not deserve protection from it. That prison simply is a site where rape occurs is given as a deterrent and, in the event that an offender is not deterred, implied to be what they had coming all along. But the notion that prisoners who are raped should have behaved better to be less deserving is the apotheosis of the “asking for it” or “had it coming” arguments so commonly employed to dismiss victims of rape in the free population. Some crimes are so egregiously heinous that knee-jerk, visceral reactions tend toward the violent, but when we codify primal impulse into popular consensus, we wind up in agreement that rape is sometimes an appropriate punishment. Hatred or indifference to people in prison, therefore, affirms a particularly poisonous view of rape itself: that it has its place in the order of things, especially where badly behaved people are concerned. So long as some 200,000 people are sexually violated in detention centers annually, rape will never really retreat into the realm of the unthinkable, no matter how many perpetrators we turn into victims.


Ed Dunn said...

The article stated 200,000 people are sexually violated in detention centers annually...was this a pun?

CNu said...

lol, get help...,

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