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Women, In The Shadows

stalvis Icon Posted by Silja J.A. Talvi

June 25th, 2006

A week ago, I wrote about an important report, “Women: Hard Hit.”

The other report largely ignored by national media that I want to draw your attention to is In The Shadows: Sexual Violence in U.S. Detention Facilities. Researched and released by Stop Prisoner Rape for the U.N. Committee Against Torture, this report highlights the very real danger of abuse faced by detainees in the U.S. (or in U.S.-held facilities in other countries). It took Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib for this issue to merit real media attention, but the fact of the matter is that it’s been going on for a long time.

INS facilities were not known for being safe havens, but with the restructuring under ICE, things have only gotten worse, from what I can tell. One woman whom I’m in touch with in an ICE facility–I won’t name which one, her country of origin, or her name (as that’s how dangerous it is for her to talk to me)–speaks of the constant barrage of sexually charged harassment she and other detainees face at the hands of ICE guards. Those comments on the part of the guards, she adds, are often tinged with racist overtones. She is being held in a dismal facility indefinitely, until her case finally gets heard. She’s not even suspected of any kind of terrorist-related activity, and has been deprived of just about every right imaginable, including the right to walk in fresh air, touch her family members or her husband, or eat anything akin to decent food.

And this is democracy? That isn’t just a stretch, it’s an outright farce.

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