A former Scottish prisoner shared her experience living alongside transexual inmates in prison. Amanda Benson, 41, discussed how she was terrified of being raped and eventually felt the need to acquire a contraceptive device to prevent becoming pregnant.
Benson is a mom of four children, who was imprisoned alongside two transexual prisoners. One was convicted of murder and the other for domestic violence.
She said, “My whole time in prison on constant high alert, my nerves were frazzled with fear. These incredibly violent men were walking around the communal shower area naked and sometimes clearly aroused. Myself and other women were in cubicles with only a curtain to protect us.”
“I was shaking with fear. In the end I went to the prison clinic and had a coil fitted because I believed I could be raped at any time. I didn’t want one, I felt forced to do it,” she continued.
“There was around 40 prisoners and two of them were trans. Neither appeared to be women. They dressed as men, they didn’t wear makeup, they were not so far as I know on any hormone drugs, they sounded like men.”
“One of them was a domestic abuser who was over six feet tall and extremely threatening looking, the other was serving time for murder.”
“All of the women who were forced to be in that prison with these people were vulnerable in different ways, many of them had been the victims of male violence, irrespective of their own offending.”
“It is utterly outrageous, evil even, that we were put in a position of having to live in fear of being sexually attacked every day.”
“I simply do not accept that these two prisoners were women, they were dangerous violent men who could at any point have used their strength to overpower one of the women.”
Benson continued to criticize the Scottish Prison Service for jeopardizing the safety and rights of incarcerated women who have to share showers and other prison environments with trans inmates.
“When I realised I was to be housed with two men I felt total panic, it was like a wave of fear crashing over me – then I found out one was a murderer and the other someone with a history of violence against women.
“I just wanted to keep my head down but I was feeling increasingly suicidal.”
“I will never forget the first time I found myself confronted with this huge man.”
“He was in prison for domestic abuse against his female partner and yet here he was being allowed to intimidate women every day.”
“We were told his name was Laura and that we would need to call him by that name, while the murderer was called Alex.”
“I felt like if I was to misgender them it would be me who would be getting into trouble and possibly having my sentence lengthened.”
“We didn’t have showers in our cells and so we had to shower in the communal shower block, so women who were traumatized and vulnerable had to be naked and shower with men in their spaces.”
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