She’s Demanding A World Without Rape Culture – And Prisons

Black woman looking up
Zain Murdock
November 15, 2021

Every 68 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. 19-year-old Shaniece Warden was one of them. But even though that moment was seared into her memory, she still couldn’t tell the police. Why?

“I had friends who went through that,” she said. “Nothing ever happened and they just felt worse.” And Warden’s experience is supported by the evidence – out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 230 are reported, and fewer than five abusers are incarcerated! 80% of assault survivors also fear calling 911 – perhaps because 24% end up being threatened or arrested by police!

The process is traumatizing, and frequently doesn’t produce results. If we didn’t have prisons, though, what would happen to rapists? And, importantly, how could survivors feel safe?

But our current system frequently does NOT help survivors. Many survivors want people to listen to what they individually need, not a violent one-fits-all. From transformative justice models to therapies for assaulters that have so far produced powerful results, prison abolition actually invites us to interrogate these options and imagine better. 

The reality is that no matter how many prisons we build, or police we put on the streets, hundreds of thousands of people will still be assaulted each year with no accountability. We deserve a world devoid of rape culture, misogynoir, and mass abuse, period. Abolition believes we can create one.

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