Feature

Laughing off the horrors of prison rape

In our culture, there

Ezra KleinLos Angeles Times

In our culture, there’s only one kind of sexual assault that people think is hilarious, said Ezra Klein, and that’s prison rape. A new movie called Let’s Go to Prison, for example, is rife with gags about anal penetration, and its DVD box features a dropped bar of soap. When Enron’s Ken Lay was sentenced to jail, California’s attorney general said he couldn’t wait until Lay got to a tiny cell that he would share “with a tattooed dude who says, ‘Hi, my name is Spike, honey.’” It’s almost as if our society has come to believe that violent sexual assault is part of every jail sentence. That’s barbaric, and the reality of prison rape is no laughing matter. As prisoners have testified in Justice Department hearings, it’s not uncommon for some inmates to be held down, beaten, and raped by as many as seven men at a time. Some prisoners enter into coerced “relationships’’ with dominant inmates to avoid these habitual assaults; those who don’t live in constant fear. Our tacit acceptance of such brutality is both morally “grotesque’’ and counterproductive. Not surprisingly, research has shown that the humiliations of repeated sexual assaults harden prisoners and fill them with rage, making them “more violent’’ when they’re released back into society. “There’s nothing funny about that.’’ 

Recommended

Omicron strain reaches U.K., Germany, Italy, and Czechia
airplane
It's spreading

Omicron strain reaches U.K., Germany, Italy, and Czechia

Planes from South Africa carrying COVID-positive passengers land in Amsterdam
schiphol airport
omicr-on a plane?

Planes from South Africa carrying COVID-positive passengers land in Amsterdam

10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2021
covid virus
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2021

China's politically revealing blockbusters
Chinese movies.
Picture of Joel MathisJoel Mathis

China's politically revealing blockbusters

Most Popular

Neal Stephenson recommends 6 books on information manipulation
Neal Stephenson.
Feature

Neal Stephenson recommends 6 books on information manipulation

7 cartoons about Thanksgiving inflation
Political Cartoon.
Feature

7 cartoons about Thanksgiving inflation

Who pays America's taxes?
Taxes.
Briefing

Who pays America's taxes?