In January, prodded in part by outrage over a series of articles in the New York Review of Books, the Justice Department finally released an estimate of the prevalence of sexual abuse in penitentiaries. The reliance on filed complaints appeared to understate the problem. For 2008, for example, the government had previously tallied 935 confirmed instances of sexual abuse. After asking around, and performing some calculations, the Justice Department came up with a new number: 216,000. That’s 216,000 victims, not instances. These victims are often assaulted multiple times over the course of the year. The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.
UPDATE: After posting this guest entry, it was brought to my attention that the blog from which it is cross-posted contains material that is racist, misogynist, fat-shaming and transphobic. Had I known that history, I would not have allowed this post to be published on Feministe. We will not be publishing work from this author again. And going forward, when guest posts are offered, I will do more homework into a blogger’s background and past posts, instead of just generally perusing their blog for anything that immediately stands out. The Feministe team is also discussing ways to prevent this from happening in the future. I apologize that a piece from such a problematic author was posted in this space. -Jill