Take a Moment to Send a Message to a Survivor of Sexual Violence Behind Bars

A light-blue rectangle showing a sample message sent to a survivor of sexual violence in prison. It is a white card with blue birds and has a message that reads We may never meet in person, but I want you to know that i am thinking of you--Eddie. If you click on the photo you will be taken to Just Detention's website where you can write your own message.

Just Detention is a Los Angeles–based organization working to end sexual violence in detention facilities. Last year, they sent over 1,700 messages of hope (including ones from Bitch Media readers) to survivors of sexual abuse and violence in prison.

This year, they're sending even more. From Just Detention:

Every day, Just Detention International hears from survivors of sexual abuse who are behind bars and struggling to heal. This holiday season, you can give a survivor some hope by sending a personal message to remind them that they have not been forgotten.

Here's how it works:
1) Submit your message below (in 140 characters or less)
2) We'll pass on your message to a survivor in time for the holidays
3) Someone's life is changed forever because of YOU

Click here to send your message. Even a short message can mean the world when you are behind bars. Make sure you send it by Tuesday!

Just Detention says "Cases of sexual abuse in detention are not rare, isolated incidents, but the result of a systemic failure to protect the safety of inmates." This year, some measure of systemic accountability finally occurred: The Department of Justice finally updated their standards of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)—an act that was passed almost a decade ago.

Now, PREA standards apply to all federal confinement facilities and several agencies including the Department of Homeland Security. Some PREA regulations include banning routine pat-down searches of female adult inmates by male staff; stronger protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inmates; youth in adult facilities will no longer be detained in housing units with adults; and a facility audit by independent auditors every three years. Read more about PREA here.

It's only one small victory in a sea of gross abuse in the prison industrial complex. Add one more drop with your note—it makes a huge difference.

Send your message today!

by Kjerstin Johnson
View profile »

Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She is the former editor in chief of Bitch. She tweets at @kajerstin

Still Reading? Sign up for our Weekly Reader!

3 Comments Have Been Posted

prisons and sexual assault

I'm really happy that this important message has been posted to support survivors of sexual abuse.

I'm disheartened, however, that the Prison Rape Elimination Act is lauded as such a great step forward. Particularly, stating that the PREA includes "stronger protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inmates" makes me feel queasy. I don't think prison is a safe environment for anyone, and I don't think PREA standards are ever going to adequately protect LGBTQ inmates from the violence, harm, degradation, and devastation of prison. What if we believed that protecting LGBTQ individuals from harm meant working to ensure fewer LGBTQ people in prison, not that they're just treated a little better while they are there?

Statistics on the amount of survivors of sexual abuse incarcerated in women's prisons are shocking. I think it's important to consider moving our analysis beyond supporting women who are being harmed in society and in prison, to a politic that considers prison abolition as one step in undoing and ending rape culture.

So they're calling attention

So they're calling attention to someone's status as an abuse survivor in prison.


I think Just Detention, a

I think Just Detention, a group that works closely with survivors and has had prison rape survivors as their president, probably knows what they're doing better than you do.

Add new comment