Marriage equality, check. Affordable Care Act, check. Iran nuclear agreement, check. Now, this “lame duck” President is on to one of the country’s biggest crises: the prison system, and he has some pretty stern words for our nation’s professional and amateur comedians.
In a speech before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Obama asked that the country stop making prison rape jokes.
We should not tolerate conditions in prison that have no place in any civilized country,” Obama said to applause. “We should not be tolerating overcrowding in prison. We should not be tolerating gang activity in prison.”
“We should not be tolerating rape in prison, and we shouldn’t be making jokes about it in our popular culture,” Obama added. “That is no joke. These things are unacceptable.
Here’s the video:
While it might seem that there’s poetic justice in the idea of prisoners being raped, you need to remember that the vast majority of prisoners are not in there for violent offenses. It’s also estimated that up to five percent of all American prisoners are innocent.
Prison rape is a huge problem. It’s estimated that in one year, there were 216,000 victims of prison rape. Now, men’s rights advocates point to this number to say that there are more men raped than women in this country because there are an estimated 213,000 victims of sexual assault in the U.S. each year. Men’s rights advocates are simplifying it and ignoring some significant facts: like that the 216,000 includes female prisoners and female prisoners are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted in prison, often at the hands of guards.
Still, prison rape is something that we, as a society, turn a blind eye to. It’s great to see President Obama calling attention to this horrific issue. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted.
Featured image via Wikipedia.