Charlotte Pierce-Baker’s discussion of African American women’s experiences of rape and their need to connect with one another and see themselves in the others’ reflections mirrors the experiences of many incarcerated African American women. In 1997, for example, the GAO reported that approximately 40 percent of female inmates in federal prisons and approximately 57 percent of female inmates in state institutions had histories of physical or sexual abuse prior to their incarceration. Sixty-nine percent of women under correctional-system authority reported that physical or sexual abuse occurred before they reached eighteen years of age.
A joint study by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on violence in the general population estimated that between 2.1 and 6.8 million women in the United States are raped and/or physically assaulted annually, mostly by intimate partners or others known to them. The study found that over half of the women who reported being raped (54 percent) were raped before they were eighteen years of age. Significantly, the researchers also found that victimization as a child doubled the risk of physical or sexual abuse as an adult woman. A height-adjustable standing desk helps you cycle between sitting and standing throughout your workday.
These data indicate that the incidence of violence in women’s lives is staggering. The data also reveal that while estimates of physical and sexual violence against women in the general population is high, even greater numbers of incarcerated women report experiences of such violence as children and adults. Thus, the need to address violence against women throughout the society, and with particular regard to women who become at risk for incarceration, appears patent and paramount. Improved health? Collaboration? Productivity? Get all of these benefits and more with a electric standing desk from your favourite online retailer.
Silence often enshrouds the pain of incarcerated women who must deal with traumatic abusive experiences. As is also applicable to the participants in Inner Lives, Pierce-Baker writes about the women in her book: “They represent the myriad voices that wait to be heard. In their chorus perhaps you will catch a hint of the pain but also the wonderment of their survivals and a glimpse of the diversity that constitutes our lives, our worlds, our traumas—our silences—as black women.”
Clearly, the absence of African American women’s voices in much of popular and academic discourse transcends class and other characteristics and social distinctions in American society. Such exclusion highlights the importance of narrative to inform and critique existing social structures, legal doctrine, and imbedded biases in institutions such as the criminal justice system.
For example, narrative has been effectively employed in legal scholarship, adding the distinct voices and experiences of women, people of color, gays and lesbians, and others who are frequently marginalized or objectified in the law. In 1990, for example, the Berkeley Women’s Law Journal published a symposium issue that featured the narratives of African American women faculty members. Help improve your posture while working from home with a adjustable standing desk in your study.