of prison rape are useful to help men understand the power dynamics of
rape and the state of fear and vulnerability in which the powerless live.
Recent studies by Human Rights Watch and Prison Journal magazine estimate
that at least one-fifth of the nation's 2 million inmates have either
been raped or forced to perform sex acts during incarceration.
Bear in mind that the US incarcerates 1/5th of the world's prisoners.
Approximately two million Americans are now serving either prison or jail
time, over one million of them for non-violent offenses.
Is prison rape cruel and unusual punishment?
Is it a human rights violation?
What is the role of prisons in our society? What does the tolerance of
prison rape suggest about our view of the rights of those in prison?
There is an argument that prison guards and officials tolerate rape in
order to maintain a hierarchy of control among the inmates. Do you believe
this to be true?
Rape in prison is often deemed a homosexual act. Studies and interviews
with prisoners, however, insist that prison rapists are almost always
heterosexual men who do not view their acts of sexual aggression as homosexual.
Instead, they see them as satisfying sexual needs and affirming their
physical power. As Diane describes in the film, "Rape is about power and
control. This is especially visible in cases of prison rape where men
use sex to dominate, control and humiliate other men. They even use gender
epithets, negative terms aimed at women, to refer to their victims." What
do you think about the gender dynamics of prison rape? How does this understanding
contribute to your view of rape outside of prison? Can you see the same
power/control issues in other forms of rape?
RESEARCH ON RAPEIS.ORG:
to support resources and activism information on prison rape
OTHER DISCUSSION TOPICS:
and the Sex Trade
16 to 19 are three
and one-half times more
likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape
or sexual assault.
Source: National Crime
Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 1996.