Monday, 22 December 2008


This is a story of an incident that happened quite recently, in a "friendly" country. I won't mention its name just yet, let's just say that you can't drive around the largest city in it without seeing oil derricks and "nodding donkeys" pumping out crude oil to feed the US market.

A woman was convicted of a minor crime. But due to either bureaucratic ineptitude or something much more sinister, she was sent not to a female jail, as she should have been, but to a male one, and put in with the general prison population.

A "trusty", a prisoner favoured by the authorities, requested that she be assigned to him. Or to his cell. It amounted to the same thing. Her fate was to be a sex slave, and week after week after week of daily rapes began. She protested to the authorities of course, but they ignored her pleas for help. She resisted as best she could, and soon, despite multiple rapes, her owner got tired of the problems, and passed her on to the next in line.

Again she protested, this time to the medical people treating her for her injuries, but was advised not to complain, or she'd get into real trouble. Out of a misplaced sense of compassion, they didn't even note her complaint on her medical file, for fear of her "getting into trouble". Her new owner was even more violent than the first, and just two days after she'd gone to the medics, hurt her quite badly with a box-cutter.

The authorities could (and did) look the other way at "good" prisoners being awarded sex slaves, but the possession of a knife in a jail was a serious matter. As the result of her experiences, she was moved to a prison for "psychologically troubled" inmates. She wasn't quite sane by then, you see, and lived every day in stark terror that she'd be sent back. Eventually, far too late, she was released on parole.

Quite a story, isn't it? The barbarity that exists in some of the less civilised places on earth, no matter how rich they may be.

Now read the rest of her story, and her quest for Justice.


Anonymous said...

Read "Nobodies" By John Bowe

Slavery is alive and well all around the globe including the U.S. The only way to stop it is not buy anything done by people who live without human rights. No profit no slaves.

Anonymous said...

This isn't an only in America story either.

Nor is it just a trans issue, although this is a particularly affected group. It boggles the mind to think that any government can deny responsibility for those who it incarcerates. Prisons are the place where the state has the greatest level of control of people and could, if it wanted, prevent such acts from occurring and yet no government accepts its responsibility.

Of course, there is wider complicity. Police still threaten people with what will happen to them in prison, it is widely known that rape and violence are common in prison and people express no outrage, rather a sense that it is justified. A movie called 'Big Stan' makes it a comedic plot line.

How can anyone expect criminals to reform when they are treated like this? Isn't incarceration the punishment? And why are we throwing so many people into prison when we know it achieves so little and has such a severe effect upon prisoners, their families and, eventually, everyone.


Anonymous said...

Your essay is misleading. The inmate in question is not a woman but a person who identifies as a "male to female transgender". There is nothing in the article you link to that suggests this person had GRS. And as a transgender person can be anything from a casual crossdresser to a drag queen, though it is encumbent on the authorities to protect this person, it is not encumbent on them to send her to a prison for female inmates.

To call her a "woman" is disingenuous.

Zoe Brain said...

Surely that should be

"To call him a "woman" is disingenuous."


Anonymous said...

Does it really matter what sex or gender the victim in this case is? If this were two heterosexual male inmates brutally raping a third heterosexual male, would that make this all better?

Clearly, this person was assigned to the wrong place. Equally clearly, the abuse was horrific and should have been stopped from the beginning, regardless of anything else.

The system got it wrong in every way possible.

Anonymous said...

I had to report on a suspected abuse at Port Hedland detention centre a couple of times. One was a Chinese chap who Had been beaten, and I found with a shiv freshly made. He was having trouble walking as well.
It took a while but I made a big enough fuss to get him seen and it turned out to be a false alarm. He had lost a fight (unrelated matter) and was suffering extremely bad piles... But to me (and with him having no english at all) the blood/bruising and obvious discomfort led me to the wrong conclusion. Hed laughed every time he saw me a patted his bum after, I didnt regret doing the report though.

On another occasion we were looking after the whole crew of a fishing boat (about 120) for fisheries. The boat had a bout 122 men and 3 women on the crew. The ladies had been on the boat as more or less prostitues. However the reality of servicing 122 blokes working all day and exhausted was considerably different to 122 blokes sitting around with nothing better to do.

We ended up fitting a doorlock on their room and shifting their room to an area where officers could assist if needed.

I have no doubt rape, both homosexual and normal occourred while I was working there, but I never witnessed or even heard rumours of it.
On another occasion an officer caught a group of about 5 detainees sitting in a group. She saw one of the men had a (from memory) 5 year old girl on his lap, bouncing her up and down with his exposed penis rubbing between her thighs (not penetrating). She yelled and they all ran off. The bloke was found and placed in seperation while the parents of the girl were informed. The father refused to press charges (I believe but cant confirm he was allowing this to go on). Despite the officer witnessing this we were told the detainee wouldnt be charged as the parents didnt wish it. This was reported all the way up to government level, but as they felt the chances of securing a conviction were slim, nothing happened.

And thats in an institution that the vast majority of the staff would try and stop anything like that happenning. I cant imaging how bad it would be in a place where it was accepted as the norm.
Cheers, thefrollickingmole