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Survived & Punished

Season 6, Episode 2, aired on Saturday, February 11, 2023, with special guest Neda Said, from Survived and Punished.

Neda Said is an organizer and connector working toward abolition, liberation, and ending gender-based violence. Their experience includes program design, facilitation, management, social justice, and domestic violence education and training.

Survived and Punished affirms the lives and self-determination of all survivors of domestic and sexual violence. They endorse efforts to abolish these anti-survivor systems and create new approaches prioritizing accountable, community-based responses to domestic and sexual violence. Knowing that abuse and incarceration are meant to isolate and diminish the person, they hope for more restorative resources and options for survivors. Survived and Punished believes we must organize for a world in which survivors are always supported by their communities.

Survived & Punished's coalition of freedom campaigns and organizations believes that policing, immigration enforcement, and the prison industrial complex are violent institutions that primarily target poor communities of color. They are fundamentally racist, anti-family, anti-trans/queer, anti-woman, anti-Black, anti-Native, anti-poor, and anti-immigrant.

Said, along with Dr. Sade Lindsey, wrote Punished By Design: The Criminalization of Trans & Queer Incarcerated Survivors. Here is an excerpt

Queer, trans, and gender nonconforming people are both disproportionately impacted by the criminal legal system (CLS) and significantly more likely to be survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence. In fact, two common pathways to the CLS involve victimization and abuse, which results partially from the criminalization of self-defense and other survival tactics as well as the scrutinization of the character of survivors who report abuse. Survivors typically must fit within a “perfect victim” narrative to be deemed worthy of protection and support. Queer, trans, and gender nonconforming survivors of color also face disparate treatment and outcomes due to their race, sexuality, gender, and class, in addition to any criminalization or sex work histories.

The full report can be downloaded

90% of people in women's prisons are survivors of sexual and domestic violence

The vast majority of people in women’s prisons, and many in men’s prisons, are survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Survivors are criminalized while attempting to navigate dangerous conditions of abuse and coercion. Prisons and detention centers perpetuate cycles of violence through the “abuse to prison” pipeline and because they are themselves sites of systematic gendered violence.

Once incarcerated or detained, many women (including trans women) and trans & gender non-conforming people experience sexual violence from guards and others.

Power & Control Wheel from Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration Chicago was re-conceptualized by Monica Cosby. Graphic by Sarah Ross.

Survivors are criminalized for being Black, undocumented, poor, transgender, queer, disabled, women or girls of color, in the sex industry, or for having a past “criminal record.” Their experience of violence is diminished, distorted, or disappeared, and they are instead simply seen as criminals who should be punished.

Decades of research confirms that the legal system systemically fails to protect survivors from domestic and sexual violence, and then punishes them when they save their own lives.

Said also highlighted the current system devalues and disregards all incarcerated people. However, there are heightened risks and palpable dangers for those who are further marginalized. They brought up the slow and incomplete response to COVID-19 to illustrate the system's concern for health and safety. For trans and queer people, particular medical needs are often unmet.

It is easy to become jaded. The more we learn about the injustice and mistreatment, the more pervasive and engrained the poison appears. But organizations like Survived & Punished and their allies have been very impactful and identified how we could contribute. We challenge The Justice Beat Family to become active and show support. We have listed several opportunities.

Ways to Support

Watch the full episode here. Join us for the next episode of The Justice Beat Talk Show on Saturday, February 18, at 10:00 am CST on Facebook Live.

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