RAPED 2000 TIMES: Mary’s ‘hell on earth’ in an all-male prison

A transgender woman talks about life in a male prison

A transgender woman tells her story of hell behind bars.
MARY was still as the car pulled closer towards the threatening prison gates and a place that was soon to become her hell on earth.
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As she stepped into the reception area of the jail, she felt all eyes fall upon her as she continued to walk closer to her cell.
See Mary, not her real name, wasn’t just any “normal” prisoner — she was a transgender woman who was about to be locked behind bars with men.
Mary was sickened by what happened to her in that Queensland prison, Boggo Road, as it was known in the 90s.
She has lived in fear for decades, with regular flashbacks to the disturbing things she lived through while in jail.
Mary admits she was wrong, she shouldn’t have stolen the car that put her in jail in the first place, but in her mind, she was a female and yearned to be treated as such.
She couldn’t understand why she was thrown among a pack of men.
According to Mary, she was preyed on and raped once a day, sometimes even more.
Laverne Cox plays the part of a transgender prisoner in Orange is the New Black. Source: Supplied
Laverne Cox plays the part of a transgender prisoner in Orange is the New Black. Source: SuppliedSource:Supplied
When Mary made it through the jail’s reception she was ordered to strip.
The stares were menacing her as she turned around for a routine bodycheck.
By time Mary had made it to her holding cell, news had travelled through the prison that she was transgender.
She sat in the jail cell, surrounded by some male prisoners who were awaiting court, or who had just returned.
“You are basically set upon with conversations about being protected in return for sex,” Mary told news.com.au.
She was finally taken to the cell where she would stay and within minutes of arriving, she was approached by many men.
“They are either trying to manipulate you or threaten you into some sort of sexual contact and then, once you perform the requested threat of sex, you are then an easy target as others want their share of sex with you, which is more like rape than consensual sex,” she said.
Mary was raped more than 2000 times. Source: iStock/Getty Images
Mary was raped more than 2000 times. Source: iStock/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Mary not once wanted to have sex with prisoners, she said she only did it because she was so scared of being bashed.
At times, Mary was put into a cell for prisoners who needed protection, but even then she said she was assaulted by sex offenders.
“It makes you feel sick but you have no way of defending yourself,” she said.
She transferred to other prisons across the state and while she was assaulted at all of them, she said Boggo Road was the worst and most violent.
Mary said she was forced into performing sexual acts more than 2000 times when she was serving her sentence, which was about four years long.
“It was rape and yes I was flogged and bashed to the point where I knew I had to do it in order to survive, but survival was basically for other prisoners’ pleasure,” she said.
“It was hell on earth, it was as if I died and this was my punishment.”
During her sentence, Mary was labelled a high-risk prisoner because she tried to escape three times.
“This meant I would serve all my time in maximum security with the most violent prisoners,” she said.
“I wasn’t escaping for anything else, I just had to get away from the sexual assault.”
In her first couple of nights in jail, Mary tried to defend herself and pushed prisoners off her, but she was flogged.
“Each time I said no and tried to push them away, they just force you and it’s not just one or two people, there’s a bunch of them,” she said.
But it wasn’t just the rape that has caused Mary’s distress.
When she arrived in jail, a prisoner cut her long locks into a crew cut.
“It was halfway down my back, it was horrific,” Mary said.
“It was like my identity was taken away from me.”
She was also denied her hormones, and began to grow facial hair again.
“Your hormonal levels drop so fast, you just start going haywire within a week.”
Mary tried to fight for her hormones but said it was a strict no.
There was one other person in the prison however, who did understand Mary.
She was also a transgender woman and too was targeted for sex.
Unlike Mary, this transgender woman was not able to live with what happened to her.
“She was eventually released but was arrested for breaching parole and she hung herself so she didn’t have to go back to prison,” Mary said.
Vicky Thompson was found dead in her cell at an all-male prison.
Vicky Thompson was found dead in her cell at an all-male prison.Source:Supplied
She believes transgender women are raped because they look like females.
Mary had breasts, but not gender reassignment surgery, and said men just wanted sex.
She tells her story after a transgender woman in WA was put into a male prison in Perth earlier this year.
But this is something that happens all over the world.
Just last year, transgender woman Tara Hudson spent a week in an all-male prison in Gloucestershire where she was tormented.
She was moved to a female prison after people signed a petition.
Also last year, transgender woman Vicky Thompson was found dead in an all-male jail in Armley.
Her lawyer was pushing to get her into a female prison as Thompson told friends she would kill herself if she had to serve her sentence in a male prison.
Tara Hudson was sent to a female prison after a petition was circulated.
Tara Hudson was sent to a female prison after a petition was circulated.Source:Snapper Media
Transgender advocate CeCe McDonald, who was jailed for defending herself against a group that hurled transphobic and racial slurs at her in 2011, also served her sentence in a male prison.
Mary says she just can’t understand why it happens.
“People must think if you go to a female prison, you’re going to rape women and you’re not — it doesn’t make any sense,” Mary said.
“I’d rather die than go to prison ever again in my whole life.”
Mary said transgender women who had reassignment surgery would be put in a female prison, but believed those who identified as female should have the same rights.
“You’ve seen a psychiatrist, been approved to be on hormones and that takes two years,” she said.
“I look like a woman and I think if a transgender person is genuine and they are living as the opposite sex, then they should be housed in a female prison, even if you’re in a wing on your own.
“You shouldn’t be subjected to sexual assault. You are serving a punishment for an error you made in your life.”
Mary has found it hard to move on since her life in prison.
“I don’t have a relationship and I don’t trust men and never will ever again in my life — I’ve not had a relationship since prison,” she said.
“We are human beings and most of us were born this way and we want to just live our lives but are ridiculed by society because we have the guts to be who we are.”
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