July 14, 2024

Naming Prison Rape as Disablement: A Critical Analysis of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Imperatives of Survivor-Oriented Advocacy

Excerpt from Introduction: "In spring of 2009, Fox network sent a promotional mailer to the Lesbian/Bisexual/Gay/Transgender magazine, The Advocate. 1 The mailer featured a press release for the series finale of the television show, Prison Break, and also contained a bar of soap, explained by an invitation for viewers to "lather up excitement" for the finale. 2 For those unfamiliar with the pop cultural reference, the bar of soap invokes repeated on-screen depictions of prison rape throughout the series. The fact that sexual violence in U.S. jails and prisons is perceived as a joke is a familiar and entrenched phenomenon. 3 However, Fox network was not simply treating rape here as humorous. The advertisement presumed and reinforced the notion that the public (or at least a presumed gay male demographic) would find images of rape in the context of incarceration erotic and therefore pleasurable. Bypassing, at least in this discussion, how this assumption is indicative of a particular set of premises about objectification and queer sexualities - my purpose in raising this particular instance is to note that it indicates more than indifference or trivialization. It suggests that the existence of prison rape is desired or important in some manner, to people who are not incarcerated. Lest it be argued that this example is just indicative of an attempt to capitalize on a particular "gay' market and has no implications beyond this niche, it bears noting that while certainly prison rape scripts are a familiar feature in pornography geared towards ..."
B. Ribet
Virginia journal of social policy & the law, Vol. 17, No. 2
Date Added November 16, 2016
Date Modifed October 17, 2017
Collection UVA scholarship on sexual violence, 1974-

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