Prison rape or jail rape is rape occurring in prison. The phrase has come into common usage to refer to rape of inmates by other inmates, and less commonly to the rape of inmates by staff, and even less commonly rape of staff by inmates.
In some jurisdictions, sexual contact with inmates by prison staff is illegal regardless of consent.
The well-known teardrop tattoo signifies that the wearer was raped while incarcerated and tattooed with a teardrop under the eye by the offending party, this was a way of “marking” an inmate as property or to publicly humiliate the inmate as face tattoos cannot be hidden.
It is said[by whom?] that rape has been used by interrogators in Iran for decades. During the 1980s, following the Iranian Islamic Revolution, the rape of female political prisoners was so prevalent that it prompted Hussein-Ali Montazeri, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s then-deputy, to write the following to Khomeini in a letter dated 7 October 1986: "Did you know that young women are raped in some of the prisons of the Islamic Republic?" Two prominent members of Iran’s human rights community, the feminist lawyer and journalist Shadi Sadr and the blogger and activist Mojtaba Saminejad published essays online from inside Iran saying prison rape has a long history in the Islamic Republic.
In the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, opposition groups reported thousands were arrested and tortured in prisons around the country, with former inmates alleging mass rape of men, women and children by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, in prisons such as Kahrizak and Evin.
Following the 2009 presidential election, Iranian presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi said several protesters held behind bars in Evin Prison had been savagely raped, according to a confidential letter to cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Karroubi said this was a "fragment" of the evidence he had and that if the denials did not stop, he would release even more.
On August 9, 2009, in a letter to the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council of Iran, Mehdi Karroubi demanded investigation of Iranian prisons for possible the tortures and, in particular, sexual harassment of men and women. On August 19, he wrote to parliament speaker Ali Larijani, asking to meet with him, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and the state prosecutor to "personally present my documents and evidence over the cases of sexual abuse in some prisons specially Kahrizak." Ali Larijani and Sadeq Larijani (Judiciary committee) both officially rejected his claims and Ali Khamenei's representatives, and Vice Chairman of National Security Commission of the parliament demanded Karroubi's arrest.
Public awareness of common prison rape is a relatively recent development and estimates of its prevalence have varied widely for decades. In 1974, Carl Weiss and David James Friar wrote that 46 million Americans would one day be incarcerated; of that number, they held that 10 million would be raped.
A United States Department of Justice report, Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, states that "In 2011–12, an estimated 5.0% of state and federal prison inmates and 3.2% of jail inmates reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months." However, advocates dispute the accuracy of the numbers, saying they seem to under-report the real numbers of sexual assaults in prison, especially among juveniles.
A 1992 estimate from the Federal Bureau of Prisons conjectured that between 9 and 20 percent of inmates had been sexually assaulted. Studies in 1982 and 1996 concluded that the rate was somewhere between 12 and 14 percent. A 1986 study by Daniel Lockwood put the number at around 23 percent for maximum security prisons in New York. In contrast, Christine Saum's 1994 survey of 101 inmates showed 5 had been sexually assaulted.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 was the first United States federal law passed specifically dealing with the sexual assault of prisoners. The bill was signed into law on September 4, 2003.
the victim of rape is tattooed with a teardrop below the eye by the offending party
a way of “marking” an inmate as property of another person or for humiliation; a face tattoo cannot be covered up or hidden.