No tolerance for prison rape Why sexual assault is no laughing matter

By: James Neyer ~Staff Writer~

Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle was horribly beaten in prison recently due to his sentence for child pornography. This did not cause much concern or alarm, but was met instead with the attitude “well, he deserved it” and “what do you expect?”

When Fogle was first arrested, there were numerous jokes about him getting beaten up in prison and being forced to “enjoy a footlong.” This joke spread through twitter like a wildfire with the result that most people heard some variation of the same joke. It was not just shared online, but also published by the New York Post, which featured a picture of Fogle on its cover with the line “ENJOY A FOOT-LONG IN JAIL.”

The problem with these jokes is not the content, but rather than expectation and acceptance of it. Prison rape and abuse is a horrible thing, and it does not seem to be going away. Even though President Bush signed the “Prison Rape Elimination Act” in 2003, the number of sexual assaults is not declining.

One reason for this is the public’s acceptance of prison rape as a natural “punishment” for those in jail. If this punishment comes in the form of rape or abuse, who are they to complain? All that is happening is guilty people facing justice.

But justice is the furthest thing from what is happening. What is happening instead is revenge and wrath forced upon those who are viewed as evil. Prison should be a place for rehabilitation, where criminals can become reintroduced to society. Instead, it is viewed as place for evil people to be punished for their crimes, even if this punishment comes in the form of rape or sexual abuse.

Instead of being considered “cruel and unusual,” rape has become an acceptable punishment. This is shown through different shows, such as “X-Files,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and even “Spongebob Squarepants.” In these shows, accused criminals are frequently convinced to talk because of threats about what they would experience in prison at the hands of characters like “Bubba” or “Large Marge.”

In “Spongebob Squarepants,” the title character gives two bars of soap to his pet snail and jokes that he should try not to drop them. Not only has prison rape become accepted enough to be used as a threat on crime-oriented television shows, but also on a kid-oriented show such as “Spongebob Squarepants.”

These television series show how entrenched prison rape has become and the lack of care towards it. But people should care, because it should never be considered an acceptable punishment. It’s a horrible crime. In addition, the legal system is not perfect. People can be incarcerated for minor crimes or for crimes they didn’t commit. One frequent target of attacks is juveniles.

1
James Neyer is a staff writer at the Newswire. He is a senior Bachelor of Arts major from Cincinnati.

Instead of becoming rehabilitated so they can reintegrate into society, juveniles become incredibly damaged and hurt, sometimes beyond repair. Take for example a 17-year-old who was incarcerated after setting fire to a trash bin.

He was raped repeatedly in prison and committed suicide as a result. He did not deserve that. No one does. Rape is seen as inherent in the atmosphere of prison because cases like this become just another statistic in the public eye.

Those statistics? Between 2011 and 2012; 32 people per 1,000 were sexually abused in jail, 40 per 1,000 in prison and 95 per 1,000 in juvenile detention. This number has not gone down over time and only fluctuates with the amount of people incarcerated.

Another point of note is that the staff have a higher rate for sexual assault than other inmates. However, due to the cultural acceptance of prison rape, it is ignored.

We owe it to each other as human beings to fight against rape in any form it takes, even if it may seem like some corrupted form of justice. Since justice is blind, it is up to us to make sure it is not led astray.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s