Survivor Stories



When I first arrived in prison, I was a just a 22 year old who was little and had no tattoos. I had a regular routine. Every day I worked from 4:30 am until noon and then would head to the shower. One afternoon, I was about two minutes into my shower when four fully clothed guys came in and showed me a knife. They told me not to make any noise and had me perform oral sex on all four of them. Then each of them raped me. This took about an hour, but it seemed like forever.

When they showed me the knife, that scared me. I thought I was going to die afterwards because I could point the guys out. But they finished up, washed up, toweled off, and left without a word.

These four dudes knew my routine and knew I would be the only one around. This was planned. These four guys didn’t just stumble upon me.

I did not go to the shower for a couple of weeks. I took bird baths in my cell. When I saw these guys around after the rape, they said nothing. I said nothing.

I did not report the rape. Well, you know, at that moment I feared for my life. They had the knife and could have easily gotten away with killing me in the shower room. They didn’t kill me, but all four of them got away with gang rape.

A few years later, I had a celly who raped me every night for a couple of months. Even though we never fought and he never threatened to harm me, this was not consensual sex. It probably happened 60 times, but I never reported any of it.

The next year, in a different prison, I had a celly who I got along with. But one day, while I was taking a bird bath in the cell, he hit me in the back of my head, causing me to slip. I fell and hit my head pretty hard and nearly blacked out. Although I was not fully aware of what was going on, I could tell he was raping me. When it was over, I got dressed and covered up in my bed. That night he raped me again. The rapes continued for about three weeks, two or three times a day.

One day right after he sexually assaulted me, I caught him off guard and hit him in the mouth as hard as I could. We started fighting and the cops in the control booth got involved. We were both disciplined, but I did not report the rape. I was moved into a cell with another cellmate.

Today, when I am out and around the general population, I scout my surroundings. When I have to shower with others, I try to shower with guys I know. The assault played a part in my self-mutilation. I have cut my forearms with razor blades. I prefer lockdown units, isolated where I can be all by myself.

– Kevin, California