About the Author
Opinion Archives
E-mail Scott
Scott's Links

Rape is not a joke. It is a crime.

By Scott Tibbs, July 2, 2012

What kind of society fantasizes about prisoners being raped, with smug satisfaction?

Jerry Sandusky walks into prison and is met by a very large hairy prisoner, who tells Sandusky to call him the "tickle monster." Oh, hardy har har, Sandusky is going to be someone's prison bitch. He will be anally raped over and over. maybe some other prisoners will join in for a gang bang! Isn't that just hilarious?

No, actually it is not funny at all. It is sick.

I understand that the last couple paragraphs have bordered on vulgar, but this is a very vulgar subject. What is happening here is a crime that we are simply not doing enough to stop. It is not "justice" to see someone raped in prison - it is a crime. These depraved "jokes" about Sandusky being anally raped in prison only serve to further dehumanize prisoners and harden our consciences to the abuses men and women made in the image of God face every day.

I admit that it would be difficult to feel any sympathy for Sandusky, but the dehumanization of people in our prisons is appalling. I read a comment on one site where the Bish cartoon is hosted that said "If someone doesn't want to be a prison bitch then don't break the law!" Brian Banks was falsely accused of "rape" and spent years in prison before he was released. He didn't break the law, although many people thought he was guilty. Does he deserve to be gang raped in prison? What about other people who have been falsely convicted? What about people who commit non-violent crimes like attempted embezzlement or check deception? Do they deserve to be repeatedly raped?

Sandusky's prison sentence will not be enough, even if he spends the rest of his life in prison. He needs to die. But he should be executed in a humane manner consistent with our legal traditions and the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments in our Constitution. But that is not enough. The culture of corruption at Penn State "University" is too deep to let the "university" off the hook. Penn State should be thrown out of the NCAA and the athletics department should be closed. If we truly want to terrify institutions to the point that they will never cover up sexual abuse, threaten to take away their cash cows, and start by making an example of Penn State "University."

What we should never allow, though, is the savage brutality of "jailhouse justice." We have to stop looking the other way - or worse, condoning this barbaric behavior and laughing at the victims as if they "deserve" it. There are a few things that should happen right away. Hollywood can stop glorifying the "justice" of prison rape in extreme right wing fantasies and the news media can refuse to publish depraved and perverted cartoons like the one Randy Bish drew about Sandusky. We can stop laughing at prison rape and rebuke those who do.

While some violence is inevitable when violent criminals are packed together in a confined area, we can certainly do more to stop it - and sexual abuse of prisoners by prison guards should never happen under any circumstances.