Question:

Do people really get raped in prison?

Answer:

Prison-rape is a very real thing. The victims will not usually come forward out of fear of retribution or embarrassment.AnswerParty On!

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Prison rape commonly refers to the rape of inmates in prison by other inmates or prison staff.

In 2010, Human Rights Watch estimated that at least 140,000 inmates had been raped while incarcerated. and there is a significant variation in the rates of prison rape by race. Just Detention International (formerly known as Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc.) estimate that young men are five times more likely to be attacked, and that the prison rape victims are ten times more likely to contract a deadly disease.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a new conceptualization of rape arose out of the second-wave feminist movement, which served as a foundation for the anti-rape movement to come. Within the movement, feminists began a reevaluation of women’s daily lives socially and with regard to the societal institutions with which they interact. Prior to this reexamination, rape had been viewed as a "sex crime carried out by pathological men,” who were unable to control their own sexual desires. Feminists began to argue something radically different, instead emphasizing the role of power dynamics specifically with regard to the perpetration of rape as a crime committed primarily by men against women. This updated definition of rape was meant to come from the perspective of the victim. The act of rape was asserted to be a way in which societal gender roles, the way someone acts out either masculinity or femininity, were enforced and the hierarchy of power placing males above females was maintained. Rape was thus defined as a form of violence used to ensure male power, a form of social control over women and children. Known as the “anti-rape” or “rape prevention” movement, it was founded with the conceptions that sexual violence and violence against women more generally is a tool of social control used to keep women in a subordinate position to men, and that women need to do something that aids victims of sexual violence to become “survivors” of violence instead of victims.

Beginning in the late 1960s, violence against women became a salient topic of interest within the second-wave feminist movement. Through the anti-rape movement, an offshoot of the women’s movement, the public was made aware of sexual violence as an important social problem deserving of attention. Sexual violence refers to both rape and sexual assault. As early as 1970, feminists began engaging in “consciousness-raising” groups, which involved sharing personal experiences women have had with sexual violence with the wider public. In 1971, the New York Radical Feminists sponsored the first events specifically regarding sexual violence as a social problem, the first of which was a speak-out, used to attach personal stories with the cause. On January 24, 1971, this group held the first Speak-Out, which approximately 300 people attended at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in New York, and this speak-out was followed by a conference about rape on April 12, 1971. Women would come to a “speak-out” specifically to share their own experiences with an audience and to raise their voices, to literally speak out against sexual violence. These events helped increase public awareness of sexual violence as an issue deserving of attention.

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