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Michelle VanNatta

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Conceptualizing and Stopping State Sexual Violence Against Incarcerated Women

The article explores forms of sexual abuse that prison staff perpetrate against women prisoners and rape crisis centers’ lack of response. Focusing on conditions in Illinois, this study contends that rape crisis workers’ conceptualization of sexual assault does not incorporate the realities of women prisoners’ lives and that rape crisis centers’ organizational practices marginalize incarcerated women. This article relies on in-depth, qualitative interviews with rape crisis center staff and interviews with attorneys and prisoner advocates. The research concludes that antiviolence activists are called to reevaluate the antiviolence movement’s alliances with the state and to develop systematic responses to state violence.

Rape, sexual violence, prison, incarcerated women, strip search, state violence

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 37, No. 1 (2010-11): 27-52.

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