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An easy way to help out this holiday season: send words of caring to an incarcerated rape survivor

December 24, 2011

It seems like a small thing: send a 250-character message to someone who’s been raped behind bars.  But sometimes small things can make a big difference.  From the Just Detention International website:

Currently incarcerated persons are probably already the most isolated individuals in the United States. Those who are not only incarcerated but also the victims of sexual violence while imprisoned face little support, few mental health and recovery services, the ongoing threat of violence, and even retaliation should they speak of the abuse. With their support networks ripped from them, their right to safety revoked, and their abusers (who are most frequently prison officials) having control over every aspect of their lives, they are among the most vulnerable sexual assault survivors.

In light of this, sending a 250 character message of support and greeting during the holiday season may seem a truly underwhelming gesture. It is precisely these same conditions, however, that makes such a small act able to speak volumes. Incarcerated persons are cultural pariahs, socially treated as subhuman, and/or told that they deserve sexual violence as a condition of their detention. A few kind and compassionate words, under those circumstances, could mean the world.

So how about it everybody?  It’s free and they won’t ask you for your email address.  If you can do more, even better–but everybody can at least send a note of caring.  It matters–when you’re locked up and being treated like you deserve to get raped, just knowing somebody still believes in your dignity as a human being and took the time to write and let you know that is huge.


Happy Whatever, everyone.

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