Survivor Stories




While serving a one-to-two year sentence in a Pennsylvania prison, I received thirty days in the hole for cooking with hot water in my cell. I went to the yard for exercise, and was approached by an inmate serving a double life sentence. Threatening me with a homemade knife, he told me that I would do as he said or he would kill me. Without moving, I told him that I was not into having sex with guys. He pulled the knife to my neck and said, “Today you’re going to be into it.” He grabbed my jumpsuit and tried to rip the buttons off of it. I said, “Come on, don’t.” But he responded, “Don’t you want to see your kids again?” He held the knife to my side as he ripped the jumpsuit off of me, sending it down around my ankles.

The other inmates on the yard just watched as the man raped me. As the knife sliced into my side and I began to cry, he told me to shut up or he’d kill me. That part of the yard was not visible from the guard towers, and there was no guard outside watching the yard. When the man finished, he said that if I told on him, he’d kill me.

I lay in my bed for about five hours after the assault. Then, two guards came to take me to the security office. An inmate who saw what happened had reported the rape. The security lieutenant asked me if I had indeed been raped that morning in the yard. I nodded my head, yes, and the lieutenant told the two guards to take me into the room and examine me. One guard said there was blood and that I was ripped open, but that it wasn’t anything unusual. I was never taken to medical or examined by a doctor.

The guards moved the inmate who assaulted me to the hole. The security lieutenant told me that the inmate had received a misconduct, but that suing or pressing charges would make the papers and would be embarrassing for me.

The next day, the inmate who reported the assault came to my cell. He told me that he would protect me in return for my giving him sexual favors. He said he had helped me by telling, and that if I didn’t do as he demanded, he would have my assailant brought back over to kill me — he had that kind of pull. I said that I just wanted to go home to be with my kids and make it out alive. I had no choice but to have sex with him.

I found out later that the man who raped me had done it several time before. I will never forget November 5, 1989. It was snowing that day. I love the snow. I try to forget what happened, but I can’t.