women, prisons, sexual abuse, slavery, PREA, corrections, rape, prisoner abuse, abused women, sexual abuse laws


This paper addresses the sexual abuse of women in custody as a more contemporary manifestation of slavery. Part II situates the sexual abuse of women in custody and women slaves in their historical context. Part II also charts the creation of the first penitentiaries in the United States and the "Reform Movement," led by Quaker women who were also involved in the abolition movement, and later in the suffrage movement. It further examines the impact that women's entry into male prisons as workers in the 1970s and 1980s - pursuant to Title VII - had on the sexual abuse of women in custody. Part III will discuss the congruencies and the differences that exist between the sexual abuse of women in custody and slavery. Part IV discusses modern advocacy efforts to address sexual abuse of women in custody and explores the relative lack of advocacy by national women’s organizations on this issue. Part V concludes that the sexual abuse of women in custody is a serious contemporary issue, similar to slavery, and that the appropriate societal response to this problem is impeded by deeply imbedded views of women in custody as unworthy and undeserving of attention, and to some degree, as responsible for their own victimization.



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