Across the country, many sexually abused girls are given sentences instead of care
NEW YORK — “The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline” – a report documenting that sexually abused girls are being incarcerated at alarming rates – was released today. Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger issued the following statement:
“This report shows that victims end up behind bars because we are criminalizing behaviors that are the direct result of child sexual abuse. It is unjust that we are criminalizing girls who are victims of sexual abuse. And it is unconscionable that, once inside the juvenile justice system, the trauma that these girls suffer from is routinely undiagnosed, untreated or simply ignored due to lack of health care, standardized protocols and access to the services they need.
“The result is that girls, who need healing, therapy and assistance, are repeatedly prosecuted and forced to relive the trauma while their abusers often remain free. Based on the report’s findings, this disproportionately affects girls of color and girls from high-poverty communities.
“Once in the prison system, they continue to slip through the cracks. The nexus of race, poverty and sexual violence creates the perfect storm, with those girls suffering the worst outcomes.
“As harsher punishments are doled out to girls of color across the nation, in our schools and on our streets, it is clear that gender stereotypes and racial bias are rampant. The very system that is charged with protecting our communities is slowly dismantling them by punishing survivors of child sexual abuse instead of providing them with treatment and a stable environment.
“Without the implementation of new safeguards to protect our country’s young women we will we be left with an irreparable generational gap that disproportionately affects communities of color.”
Download the full report here.
For more than 40 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has secured women’s rights and freedoms with a special commitment to building the power of low-income, immigrant and women of color. The foundation invests funds, time, expertise and training in trailblazing organizations nationwide.