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Locked Up for Surviving: The Untold Story of the Sexual-Abuse-to-Prison Pipeline


Locked Up for Surviving: The Untold Story of the Sexual-Abuse-to-Prison Pipeline

Sarah Lazare, staff writer

A harrowing new study finds that young girls' responses to sexual and physical abuse are systematically criminalized in the United States, with survivors funneled into juvenile detention centers where they are exposed to further trauma, replicating cycles of gendered violence that disproportionately impact children of color.


The sexual abuse and exploitation of girls not only leads to their ultimate imprisonment but also, in even greater numbers, to their victimization in prostitution and pornography.

In any case, whether imprisoned in jail cells, or in male sexual institutions, they both continue to be used and abused by the same extraordinary number of males who run about the world with get-out-of-jail-free tokens loosely jangling in their bulging pockets.


Maiming the victim


I’ve worked in a jail with women (most there for petty crimes like writing bad checks) who were identified as sexually abused and other terrors of often drug-related violence in family life. Also worked at a child crisis nursery where some of the very young children had been treated to horrible abuse including sexual trafficking and the like. There is no question that such horribly disrespectful trauma causes terrible damage and this type of abuse (sexual and physical) happens to boys too.


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I wonder how applicable this study might also be to incarcerated men? A broader look at this problem is desperately needed! Another serious revelation why incarceration is the most inhumane response to those suffering from childhood trauma and mental illness. It’s time to wake up, America, and stop feeding the criminal justice system monster that only serves the lawyers and purveyors of mass incarceration in our country that profit from such cruelty!