Prison Rape Statistics


I recall seeing a study that found that inmate-on-inmate rape is actually at a higher rate in women’s prisons than in men’s prisons. However, now I’m having a great deal of difficulty finding the study again.

So due to my laziness, I’m starting another evidence-collection thread. Yay!

If anyone knows what study I’m talking about, please post a citation (and link if possible) in the comments. However, let’s also use this thread for studies and surveys of prison rape in general. So please feel free to post any studies that are relevant. It would be especially valuable to see studies that counter the one I recall above, so we can compare methodology.


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<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="3019">24 comments</span>

  • Well guys, I know this is off topic but I was having problems with moderation at The Good Men Project.

    And this is the reason from Lisa that came form my e-mail query to her:

    “the problem is that you look at every post as a way to talk about the fact that you were bullied and hurt by women. You don’t give any new information, you don’t tell any new stories, you don’t try to have a positive look at the commenter or the post at all. We just never see that.

    It’s not that we don’t believe your story — we do — 100%, and we support your efforts to talk about it so you can move on.

    But we want to hear different things. See different sides of you. See how you really think about the story in a way that tells us something new about you.

    We are trying to have this be a space where people are here because they move the conversation forward. But whining and complaining and trying to bully us into making our moderation go faster just isn’t going to do that.”

    On the one hand, she’s right. I do go overboard and state the same thing over and over again.

    The thing is though, how else am I going to express it? This is a serious problem that I’m advocating for, it’s really personal for me.

    Plus, I can’t help but point out how certain things some commentators say erase the experiences I went through.

    And they may believe my story one hundred percent but not all of society does. Which is why I try to include the link to my article I wrote on the subject in certain responses. Yet they’re moderated and deleted into oblivion.

    I don’t know. Maybe I should just throw in the towel again.

  • Perhaps this is the survey you are talking about:
    Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008-09 by Bureau of Justice Statistics – US Department of Justice.

    The study talks about sexual violence/abuse and not just rape. The majority of perpetrators of sexual abuse against female inmates are other inmates. The majority of perpetrators of sexual abuse against male inmates are prison staff. Female inmates were more than twice as likely than male inmates to report experiencing inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization.

  • @ Eagle35

    Yes, you do repeat the same story over and over again. And here you’re derailing with something completely unrelated to the thread.

    I know that what happened to you was traumatic. Right now I’m trying to work, in therapy, on being raped by a female relative. I understand how a trauma can completely absorb your life.

    But you might want to consider that having your trauma be all that you are is limiting. And that you may have developed an obsessive focus around this one issue in your life.

    My strong suggestion is that you talk about other things. For example, try to make every four of your next five posts on a different topic entirely. Starting with this thread.

    Consider reading Tamen’s linked study and post your thoughts on prison rape.

  • Well, in regards to the topic, I wonder if there’ll ever be a documentary on the subject? You think it’ll pass now that there’s a chance, albeit slightly, that this topic can make for an celluloid examination in today’s climate?

  • That is some very interesting statistics. It might play a role that more women than men are (probably are?) bisexual.

    To those who have deep seated traumas they are working on I highly, highly recommend doing some sort of body oriented trauma release work. Cognitive therapy can be very effective with many things, traumas as well, but because it relies on taking and on taking about experiences that where felt years ago and is often buried under a lot of resistance to being properly felt through, it often does not work so well with traumas. Traumas get stuck in the body under layers of tension and protection mechanisms and body oriented therapies are great at dissolving those layers of tension so the traumas get felt through and healed. THere are therapies such as somatic experiencing, rolfing etc. where a therapist work with you and there are stuff you can do like yourself such as David Bercellis trauma release exercises (TRE). The TRE exercises are very simple and have worked great for me and for a lot of other people I have seen share experiences about it on forums. You can find instructions for it online for free and try it at home. The other thing that works really well for healing traumas are meditation, qigong, yoga and similar stuff. It also dissolves the layers of protective tension and unlocks the trauma so it is felt through and let go off. Breath and mantra based meditation work great for this but more body oriented stuff like standing meditation, tai chi, moving qigong or meditations like the inner smile or six healing sounds can be especially effective when the trauma is connected to the experience of being in your body such as sexual abuse is as compared to say the trauma of divorce, war or general bullying. Sexual trauma tends to dislodge you from the body, and especially the sexual areas of your body, to a sometimes extreme extent and the stuff I mentioned brings your awareness back into the body and in that process washes out the trauma. The more head oriented, brainy, logical or action oriented a person is and the less emotional they are the less talk therapy tends to help them with deep seated traumas because it does not help them process emotions so well. They tend to need body oriented stuff.

    The process by which meditation and energy practices such as qigong clears out trauma is very well described in the book possessing me. Few people will need to as much work as she did as she also needed to cure bipolar disorder, psychosis and a lifetime of extreme traumatization but it is useful as a description of how meditation dissolves trauma.

  • “That is some very interesting statistics. It might play a role that more women than men are (probably are?) bisexual.”

    Bisexuality in men is very stigmatized, plus the “one-drop” rule (you’re gay if you EVER have done it with a guy, regardless of how many women you ever had sex with – regardless of attraction), meaning it’s incredibly undercounted.

    And if we also add those “gay, straight or lying” that decide that how hard you are when watching some porn defines attraction, it becomes something that has less to do with sexual orientation and more to do with porn.

  • @ Wudang

    “trauma release exercises”

    I’m currently working with Emotional Freedom Techniques and Matrix Reimprinting based on accupressure. I’ve found both of them effective.

  • @ Eagle35:
    I sent lisa an email. My posts are only going through about 20% of the time, and when I emailed her 8 out of 8 posts had not posted 24 hours later.

    I definitely think that TGMP is trying to squeeze out those voices that advocate for recognition for male pain.
    I haven’t seen Eric M post there in a long time, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that was because of heavy moderation too.

  • I’m also going to put out a call for research to you guys.

    Does anyone remember the article a while back that found not that much gender-based variation in reproductive success between men and women?

    It was recent but for the life of me I can’t find it.

  • Here’s another article arguing that female correctional officers shouldn’t be expected to be entirely responsible for maintaining proper boundaries with male inmates. In short the male inmate is painted as the real perpetrator (manipulative, lovesick etc) while the “vulnerable” female correctional officers are painted as victims. A couple of commentaries make the same argument.

    Commentaries: and

    I didn’t read all the way through these as I was getting rather pissed off while reading them.

  • TB, a friend I love lots has very high regard for EFT, even though I don’t really get it. He emerged changed and renewed, and has remained that way for several years now. So good luck to you. 🙂

  • @Eagle

    A documentary on rape in prison certainly would be a start. I recall documentaries on female inmates being sexually assaulted by male guards (the least likely pairing, I believe) but never one on male inmates being sexually assaulted by female guards. I’d be worried that the female guards would be made out to be the victims despite the fact that they have all the power in the situation.

    @ Daisy

    “So good luck to you.”

    Thanks for your well-wishes. Matrix Reimprinting (which is derived from EFT) has so far been helping a lot. It can be hard to wrap your mind around it; I still have doubts.

  • @Tamen…

    I did read them. Never have I seen so much excuse making in one place. These are the sort of folk who would assert male privilege as causal for women who raped pre-pubescent boys.

  • So female guards are being manipulated by those scheming male prisoners, eh? Now all we need is Hugo Schwyzer to explain how female guards are just “helpless employees of a patriarchal prison system” who are forced to rape their charges by the unequal power dynamic and fear of retribution in the form of complaints to the warden….

  • TB: Thanks for your well-wishes. Matrix Reimprinting (which is derived from EFT) has so far been helping a lot. It can be hard to wrap your mind around it; I still have doubts.

    Its like religion or the 12 steps, most of the good/effective part is simply your willingness and openness to do the work, and what that says about you. Therapy is the same action, a willingness to go outside oneself and seek answers.

    BTW, I stole that idea from an old AA priest who gave a talk once, he said that was what the Bible verse “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” actually meant… that you have opened yourself up at last, and that was most of the battle. (He said people misunderstood it and thought it meant you will get everything you want: poof. Not hardly.) I just loved that guy!

    This shit is hard, so again, much luck and progress.

  • Eagle,

    I think I mentioned this to you before, but I think you should start your own blog…

    No one can moderate you, your the host, not the guest…

    Less than two years and I’m at 50,000 views, not bad if I do say so myself…

  • It’s a good idea, Stoner.

    But I’d need to know how to operate wordpress and stuff like that. Maybe something I can look into as a side-project.

    In regards to Typhonblue’s comment about a documentary on female guards raping male prisoners, I was more thinking of a documentary on male prisoners raped by both genders since there’s still a perception it’s no big deal even if the perps were males in prison. I know there was one examining the epidemic that was the original root of the term “Rape Culture” in the 70s. But they could take it further.

  • @TB

    As a massage therapist I work with many people who have suffered physical trauma. It is true that touch can invoke memories of past abuses but an important thing to remember is you can rewire your nervous system by replacing the abusive aspects with healthy and appropriate touch. It is a process, but one that may bring about very positive and everlasting changes.

  • John D said…

    I definitely think that TGMP is trying to squeeze out those voices that advocate for recognition for male pain.

    I haven’t seen Eric M post there in a long time, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that was because of heavy moderation too.

    GMP is, and always was, a tabloidy, womens’ magazine. Depth is not something to be countenanced. I felt my intelligence insulted time and again. At GMP they’ve had their fun with hurt boys and men. Oooh, look. Anything beyond that might involve an exercise in empathy.

    When Ester Vilar suggested that the welfare of men should never be placed in the hands of women she wasn’t kidding. Throughout the western world control of services for victims of violence AND the discourse surrounding it has been primarily gifted to womens’ groups. We’ve had decades to learn about how women view male victims. The best that male victims AND victims of female perpetrators can hope for is lip service most of the time. Their commitment to equality is plain for all to see.

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