A trans woman who was held in a men’s prison in Queensland, Australia, during the 90s has come forward almost two decades later to claim she was sexually assaulted over 2,000 times while incarcerated.

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The victim, who has only been identified as “Mary” by media outlets, finally came forward to the public with her tale after “[living] in fear for decades,” according to news sources.

As the New York Post reported:

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“According to Mary, she was preyed upon and raped once a day, sometimes even more.

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 body check.

By the time Mary had made it to her holding cell, news had traveled 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 the Australian news source news.com.au while recounting her time behind bars..

“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 added.

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Mary also stated that the repeated violence she experienced wasn’t the only form of trauma she incurred while incarcerated. She informed reporters that she was given a crew cut during intake, which she commented “was like my identity was taken away from me.”

Mary was also denied medical hormonal treatment despite repeated attempts to fight for continued use.

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“Your hormonal levels drop so fast, you just start going haywire within a week,” she stated.

When it comes to the penal system, Mary’s story is far from the first to be reported regarding trans discrimination. As NY Post pointed out, a trans woman named Tara Hudson spent one week in an British prison in Gloucestershire, where she was harassed daily before she was released; and over a year ago, another trans woman named Vicky Thompson was found dead in her jail cell in a facility in Leeds. In the U.S., activist CeCe McDonald was imprisoned after killing a man in self-defense, where she was held in a men’s facility after widespread media outrage.

Despite her release, her experience while incarcerated has left Mary with severe emotional scars.

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“I don’t have a relationship and I don’t trust men and never will ever again in my life,” Mary told the press. “I’ve not had a relationship since prison.”

“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,” she concluded.


Contact the author at jamie.reich@jezebel.com.

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Image via Flickr.