Survivor Stories


Rhode Island


My story began when I was sentenced to 12 and a half years for drugs. Ten years before, I was in the same institution, and faced a lot of homophobia on the part of the staff. They were real mean and unprofessional toward me. They would call me names like you “fucking faggot,” “fucking Spanish faggot,” or you “faggot drug dealer.” I complained to officials. I even wrote to GLAAD, who helped me a lot.

I was first raped when I was nine years old, by one of my father’s siblings. The second time I was raped was when I was 34 years old and I was in custody of the Feds. I had just gotten to my designated prison in Fort Dix, New Jersey. I remember getting to my unit house around 11:00 am. I was scared, so once I was finished fixing my belongings, I went to the restroom. It was a nice hot day, so I leaned on the window to see everyone out there before I went outside. All I knew was that someone wrapped a towel around my face, punched me, and dragged me to the showers.

He told me not to fight and not to look back. He punched me again. He told me not to scream. With one hand he held my head, and with the other he pulled down my clothes. He forced me down and did what he wanted to do to me. I was numb and scared and in such pain. Once he finished, he threw me to the floor and left. I never knew until later in my sentence who it was. I didn’t mention it to anyone.

In 2004, I was on my way to see the judge on an appeal in Boston. They took me to a detention center in Philadelphia to wait for a transfer. They put me in a two-man cell with a guy from Philadelphia. I was there for two weeks. Everything seemed to be okay. We would talk. He didn’t look like he was going to hurt me at all.

A week before I was going to leave, we were in the cell. Out of nowhere, he grabbed me by the hair and put his hand on my mouth and told me not to say anything or scream. I nodded my head yes. “I will kill you if you tell anyone. Tell me you won’t say something,” he said. I told him I wouldn’t. He told me to take my pants off and get down. I followed his commands. He made me give him oral sex and grabbed my hair hard. He looked at me and spat on my face. Then he raped me while holding my hair.

I was so angry. Twice I was trash. I was feeling so low, like I didn’t mean anything, but I guess that’s how they get off. So all I could do was comply and not get hurt, even though I was getting hurt.

Once he was done, he threw a washcloth at me and told me to clean myself — no evidence. I did. I couldn’t sleep for days. I had been sexually assaulted twice in less than three years behind bars. All I thought about was HIV and getting other STDs

I did all I could and finished my sentence in 2006. I would not wish this to happen to anyone. So, thanks to you, I can let it go now.

Thank you.

– Carlos, Rhode Island