OK, it's time for me to vent about something that doesn't have anything to do with any particular current event, or something in my own life lately, or anything like that. In fact, that might be part of the problem with it, for prison rape pretty much never gets a mention in the news media. It seems to be accepted in U.S. society as just a constant in the background, something we pretty well know is going on, hence the surfeit of jokes and other alleged humour about it, but out-of-sight, out-of-mind, it never makes the papers.
For a rather unpleasant sample, there's a song by some Bob and Tom team called "Prison Bitch" (tasteless, disturbing YouTube video warning).
What I really loathe is how society as a whole seems to just accept this state of things in prisons, and treat prison rape as though it were merely part of a just and deserved punishment for the inmates. As Ezra Klein wrote a few years ago:
We've decided to tacitly accept rape in our prisons because we believe deeply and firmly in the guilt of all who enter -- this is just further punishment. Better yet, we're not the executors -- that such barbarism occurs behind bars is further confirmation that those we incarcerate are monsters. The assaults make us feel better, they vindicate our sentencing. And we can countenance them because we never face their horrors:...However, we do, after all, have that pesky 8th Amendment "cruel and unusual punishment" clause, after all. And, if one considered this part of the punishment, I'm pretty sure it would qualify on both counts.
I don't take much stock in playing which-is-worse oneupmanship, but if I had to pick the more vile between this and waterboarding alleged Al-Qaeda-linked persons, I just might call the prison rape system worse, largely because the "punishment" is completely uncorrelated to the crime for which they've been convicted. Indeed, the HRW report linked below suggests that the worse offenders (prior to incarceration) tend more often to be the rapists, and the victims tend to be those who've committed lesser crimes, along with a few other factors unrelated to the severity of their crime.
Related sites and articles: