Sadly, rape in prisons is a reality. Rape in prison is different from rape in the community in that prison is a 'total institution' from which there is no escape. It is difficult to describe the heavy mix of fear and violence that operates in prison, some people have described the air as being 'thick like treacle'. It is important to acknowledge that such a thing as 'free consent' does not make sense in prison, in that your choices are always limited, you are not free!
The most comprehensive study ever conducted in Australia, by David Heilpern in 1998, identified that 1 in 4 New South Wales prisoners aged 18-25 years were sexually assaulted in prison. This is consistent with other studies in Australia, United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
In prison, there is a known hierarchy of power and word spreads quickly on the grapevine, therfore, finding a safe space to talk about what is happening can be difficult if not almost impossible. Given the difficulties that men can face, Living Well would like to express its gratitude to David Denborough of the Prevent Prisoner Rape Project at the Dulwich Centre, Adelaide, for making available the below Prisoner Rape Support Package.
Or you can download the Prisoner Rape Support Package 9 pages, 180 Kb.
Just Detention International
A health and human rights organisation that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention.