A Pagan transwoman in a men’s prison was raped about a decade ago. She’s been since transferred but writes “I’m terrified of men. I’m not safe. The men think I am a whore. I like men, but I want someone I can trust.” This woman has been doing hormone therapy for two years. She gets up to shower by herself at 4:45 am. After that she’s with men who have not had a touch from a woman in decades, many of them convicted of sexualized violence.
She doesn’t have a support system. No transgender penpals. Family isn’t accepting.
She received a free copy of Steel Bars, Sacred Waters, and began practicing the Brigantia Prayer for Sexualized Violence Survivors. Something began to change for her. She realized, really realized, she was not alone. Others throughout time and all through our rape prone society (where 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are raped) have experienced the soul violation of having your Sovereign control over your SELF destroyed. Transgender people have the highest rape rates in prison. There’s a very good reason for why she’s in fear.
She began the PTSD breathing meditation. It actually turns off the hormonal flood that causes the fight flight or freeze reaction. She felt better. The “Truth” essay, with instructions for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Radical Acceptance, the most popular and effective therapies along with mindfulness meditation (which her breathing meditation is), taught her how to determine what was happening now and what was her own feelings.
Because these things worked, she joined the prison PTSD group. She likes it. Federal prison is often considered “Club Med” compared to most state prisons. If she was not convicted of a federal crime, she probably wouldn’t have a PTSD support group. (That it’s minimum security doesn’t hurt either.)
She wrote to say thanks. That without the book she would have been to afraid to get help. And having someone write for imprisoned Pagans, especially including transgender Pagans in prison, made her feel like some cared.
I put together a little list of resources that are free for people in prison. She makes $5.25 a month, so using the money for stamps really cuts into her meager income. If she sends me her list with one stamp, I’ll go online and order the free resources. Plus I’m collecting rape recovery and PTSD recovery information to send her. I’m hoping that a transgender Pagan who said they’d write her actually does.
We need solidarity in our actions. I read this a lot. Saying you are an ally like it’s your identity is considered bullshit. Either you are taking (often emotionally painful) action to support people who don’t have the option to take a break from “the issues” or you’re not. Ally is the new four letter word.