Survivor Stories




I am on psychotropic medication for my medical diagnosis of Major Depression, Separation Anxiety, Bi-Polar 1 Disorder and OCD. I am classified as a vulnerable inmate because inmates have routinely taken advantage of me during my past anxiety attacks.

I am incarcerated in Texas and even though I reported my assault to a sergeant and the previous chaplain I was warned to be quiet about the incident and let them handle it. Of course, nothing was taken care of except that the people who were responsible for my assault were informed of my attempt to alert the authorities. That only made my life much worse. The beatings continued to the point that I wanted to kill myself to escape the pain and torment I was facing every day. The public is never made aware of what really happens inside prison. Since the general public cannot reach inside these walls and see for itself what is happening in America’s prisons, I can only hope that somebody will take the time to listen (or read) as I reach out to tell my personal story.

My assaults were not just a fluke or a wrong place at the wrong time kind of story. No, I was classified as “vulnerable” from the moment I walked in these doors. I spent a year and three months at a transfer facility before being shipped to a regular unit. Throughout the entire transient process I was treated as vulnerable and kept from violent inmates. When I got to the regular unit the warden denied my request stating that there wasn’t any reason to put me in safe keeping. As a result, I was given a regular housing cell on a cell block that was very rough for weaker people. The warden said I would get moved to better housing once I proved myself to the administration.

The moment I walked on to the area in front of our cells, I was singled out by a predator who wanted to know where I was from, because that would determine which group of people I would be under. My first cellie was not bad, but I got moved. [The new] cellie wasn’t so bad either, except that the company he kept thought I was cute and would be useful for providing “favors.”

Even though I fought back to protect myself it was useless. They fought harder. The very first time I was beat into submission I lost consciousness. My attacker wrapped a towel around my head so I wouldn’t scream and used hair grease to force himself inside me. When he finished, his partner forced me under threat to provide oral sex for him. After a few days, they wanted me to provide more favors. I fought to protect myself again. When I lost I was forced to provide the favors. After the third time is when I decided to make things easier on myself and just allow these men to do what they wanted because I couldn’t take much more of that. I was getting beat and then raped, so why not just skip the beatings and get the other over with?

[After two months,] I was moved to a safer housing area and given a job in the kitchen where I thought everything would be better. Unfortunately, friends of my attacker worked there also and my second day there I was sexually assaulted. I was moved to the laundry to work and it was calm for a month or two until I was given an order by an officer to clean out a pipe chase. While I was cleaning the pipe chase I was attacked and sexually assaulted again. There was no way for me to call for help and the officer had left me in there by myself. See-thru doors would have prevented this attack. I am unable to work at any job and am restricted from taking trade classes.

My emotional condition is not the best and it’s very difficult to find hope on some days. I reported the assaults, yet was accused of lying and told to keep my mouth shut. If that wasn’t bad enough, the officials I was supposed to trust were the ones who turned their backs to me and let it all continue. I have nightmares on a regular basis and wet the bed two or three times per week. It’s so easy to say what one might do when put in a situation like this, but it’s so different when you’re actually in it.

– Richard, Texas