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«ABSTRACT THE SOCIAL INJUSTICE OF PRISON RAPE: A HISTORICAL ANALYSIS By Francy Lynn Jenko August 2010 The purpose of this review is to gain a better ...»

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Eigenberg (2000) stated, "Rape is a by-product of a socialization process that equates masculinity with dominance, aggression, violence, and control" (p. 437). In addition, just as definitions of rape are situational in the community and the behavior of the victim is commonly used to redefine rape as consensual sexual behavior, rapes in prison are perceived differently based on the manner of rape, the victim's characteristics, and the observer's definition of rape and attitude toward the victim and gender roles (Eigenberg, 2000). Similarly, as some women who are raped in the community are viewed as legitimate victims, so are certain inmates (Eigenberg, 2000).

Eigenberg (2000) recommended that research on rape in prison should utilize the extensive literature on rape in the community. Eigenberg (2000) suggested that research on prison sexual violence often neglects the findings of literature on rape in the community. Further, she recommended that important theoretical associations between rape in communities and rape in prison settings be explored in depth. Lastly, Eigenberg (2000) pointed out that to effectively grasp rape in prison, understanding attitudes toward rape in the larger social structure is essential.

In an effort to eliminate the occurrence of rape in detention settings, improved practices, more education, and a paradigm shift in societal values are essential. Many dynamics are involved in the occurrence of prison rape including why it is accepted and how it is responded to; these have been of focus throughout this review. The resolutions to the problem of prison rape are evident and identified. It is simply a matter of taking action to change priorities and assume the financial costs to prevent and eliminate this atrocity in American detention institutions. Replicating the evidence-based research on how to best prevent and react to prison rape, utilizing successful strategies and models, changing legislation regarding imprisoning non-violent drug offenders, and prosecuting inmate and staff rapists would all lend to eradicating prison rape indefinitely.

The task of eliminating rape in confinement is only difficult because there is not enough concern for the treatment of inmates. Overall, society is indifferent to this population because they are deemed less than citizens or as deserving of punishment (SPR, 2006). They are not a group that most would choose to advocate for, as there are many other oppressed groups that are viewed as more worthy of help at no fault of their own. Many individuals do not want to pour funding into protecting people that they view as creating their own problems. Additionally, rape is a societal injustice that is permitted and often blamed directly on the victim. Therefore, it seems logical to conclude that until rape is viewed as detrimental and horrific, no matter what the circumstances or who the victims, it will be hard to eliminate the act of rape.

Although the survivors of prison rape may be viewed by society as more deserving of rape than other rape victims, eliminating rape in prison is conceivable.

Prison rape can be prevented, reduced, and punished. This indeed, should be an easier pursuit than eliminating rape in the community because inmates are under direct supervision and control of prison officials and the judicial system.

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Social scientists and society have collectively disregarded the topic of sex in prison starting at the conception of prison facilities (Hensley et al., 2000). Now, in the 21 st century, this social injustice appears to be receiving needed support, allowing for the methodical study of prison rape to become progressively more significant among academics in the social sciences and in criminal justice (Dumond, 1992). It is important to change paradigm views regarding prison rape, as society's perception of both its occurrence and the prison population greatly influence acceptance of a crime that could be prevented. Research indicates strategies that can be utilized to prevent, reduce, and potentially eliminate rape in detention. However, getting society to comprehend the significance of this social injustice is needed to bring about change.

More research is needed on this topic to affect change. Moreover, education is needed to teach individuals that rape is never deserved or tolerable. Rather, rape significantly harms many incarcerated Americans and American society collectively.

Most notably, this cruelty is in direct opposition to what many Americans declare they value. Without basic liberties afforded to all U.S. citizens, the significance of the Constitution is degraded and American values abandoned.


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