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Playing Sexual Slavery for Laughs

The movie Let’s Go to Prison comes out tomorrow. The trailer puts together a cute little narrative. We see the wimpy, sensitive main character go to prison. We see a large African-American prisoner—the classic “Big Bubba” of of prison-rape jokes—offer … Read More

By / November 16, 2006

The movie Let’s Go to Prison comes out tomorrow. The trailer puts together a cute little narrative. We see the wimpy, sensitive main character go to prison. We see a large African-American prisoner—the classic “Big Bubba” of of prison-rape jokes—offer him a glass of merlot. We see him crying. Finally we see Bubba tenderly washing his hair. Their union consummated, our hapless friend is now Bubba’s bitch.

It’s funny 'cuz it’s true. There are over 2 million people in U.S. prisons, and a sizeable minority of them are the young, white, non-violent offenders who are the likeliest to be raped while in prison. Like the main character in Let’s Go to Prison, many will seek escape from a hell of repeated gang rapes to the less infernal hell of being the sexual slave of just one person. All this is a well-established feature of the American penal system. It amounts to a sexual gulag maintained with taxpayer dollars, and it is regarded as a problem by virtually no one. Quite to the contrary. We find it hilarious.

We joke about dark, painful, or taboo topics all the time, of course, but prison-rape humor is closer to pratfall humor. The Let’s Go To Prison trailer looks like Dumb and Dumber goes to prison.

Here’s what these wacky hijinks look like when not played for laughs:

When I first came to prison, I had no idea what to expect. Certainly none of this. I'm a tall white male, who unfortunately has a small amount of feminine characteristics. And very shy. These characteristics have got me raped so many times I have no more feelings physically. I have been raped by up to 5 black men and two white men at a time. I've had knifes at my head and throat. I had fought and been beat so hard that I didn't ever think I'd see straight again. There is no supervision after lockdown. I was given a conduct report. I explained to the hearing officer what the issue was. He told me that off the record, He suggests I find a man I would/could willingly have sex with to prevent these things from happening. I've requested protective custody only to be denied. It is not available here. I probably have AIDS now. I have great difficulty raising food to my mouth from shaking after nightmares or thinking to hard on all this . . . . I've laid down without physical fight to be sodomized. To prevent so much damage in struggles, ripping and tearing. Though in not fighting, it caused my heart and spirit to be raped as well.

That’s from the introduction to Human Rights Watch’s 2001 report, No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons. You can read more such hilarity here. You can support the woefully unsupported organization Stop Prisoner Rape here. And you can buy tickets for Let’s Go to Prison here.

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