Thursday, April 7, 2016

Intersectionality and Women in Prison

Intersectionality is one of the most important concepts we have learned about this semester. It relates to every other concept we've learned about and has created the need for a "third wave" of feminism. In the article, "The Road to Prison is Paved with Trauma for Women and Girls", the connection between childhood trauma and incarceration of women of color is explored. As most of you know, the U.S. has the highest rate of incarcerated people in the world. Of these two million incarcerated Americans, there is a disproportionately high population of people in color in prison. Although most prisoners are men, the same is true for female prisoners. The article states that "African American women make up almost one-third of the female prison population and are incarcerated at three times the rate of white women." We've learned that a lot of this epidemic has to do with systems of privilege and oppression, and this article explores this in a new way. The article explores the idea of trauma, especially sexual trauma, being a leading cause for incarceration among women of color.

Women who end up in prison often are put into the criminal justice system at an early age. This is not because they are committing crimes, rather they are the victims of crime. According to the article, The ACLU reports that 92 percent of all women in California prisons have suffered physical or sexual trauma in their lifetimes. According to The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: A Girls’ Story, girls in juvenile justice are four times more likely to suffer from sexual abuse than boys.

So, if our justice system was to address this problem, would we see less incarcerated women in the future?

1 comment:

  1. I thought this article was extremely interesting and extremely necessary. But one of the parts of your content that really caught my eye was the idea of a third wave for feminists. I highly suggest the book, "We Don't Need Another Wave," which has a lot of stories and poems (sort of in memoir form) about why it's potentially unnecessary to have 'another wave' or a 'third wave.' I think what's so important is to accept the idea that feminism is constantly changing. As women's rights and women's needs change, so does feminism. Because of the lacking hierarchy and collective organization of the movement, it's constantly adapting. For that reason, I think that it's important to stop defining waves but rather to accept that feminism is a beautifully flexible and inclusive movement.