Survivor Stories




I was raped by a prisoner while serving a one-year sentence in a Massachusetts jail. I froze the moment I was touched. Suddenly, I was five years old again, unable to move. At age 43, I never considered being raped. I was 295 pounds — strong and able to fight. But my past trauma had a say in the matter; PTSD prevailed over the instinct to survive. The prisoner pushed me into a chair, then overpowered and raped me. All I recall is crying and begging over and over, “Stop, please don’t!” I went to sleep, believing in my mind that it did not happen.

The next day, I awoke to find the same prisoner sexually assaulting me. Again unable to react, I managed to say, “Please don’t. Please stop.” Crying, I looked at him and asked, “Why are you torturing me?” He replied, “Torturing you? I’m not torturing you. You are enjoying it.” And then he jumped off.

I lay there for hours, unable to move. When I finally focused, I decided that I was going to kill myself. I put a plastic bag over my head and the perpetrator returned. He took over and tightened the bag, cutting off my air. Now a suicide would look like murder, and I did not want to die that way. He told me that no one would believe anything I said about him. Then he released the bag.

Later, a corrections officer found me in the fetal position under the table. I was questioned and, recalling the threat, told him I had been exercising. He dropped it.

I told a trusted friend what had happened, and then 10 days later I had the courage to tell the jail’s Catholic priest. Well, all hell broke out. Priests in jail do not have to maintain confidentiality. My room was locked down. Every item I had was confiscated and held for approximately 20 days, pending investigation. All linen and clothing had been washed twice, leaving no evidence, and the fact that I had taken at least 10 showers did not help.

I felt alone, frightened, unsupported, scared, and confused. For a month, though alone in my cell, I slept fully clothed. I questioned what I did to cause this to happen. I lost 60 pounds in three months. Now I can’t stop eating. I go from compassion to hate in seconds. To say I’m better is a far cry from how I feel. I’m not better and I’m about to be released with no support at all, except from God.