Trans woman ‘sexually assaulted 14 times after being made to stay in men’s prison’
A transgender woman says she suffered 14 sexual assaults after being made to serve out a jail term at a men’s prison. Ashley Diamond, 42, says the abuse included four sex attacks over three days by multiple men, and sexual harassment meted out by an abusive prison worker.
Diamond, who is now suing the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) for a second time, told of how one officer called a dormitory-wide meeting at a men’s maximum-security prison she was being transferred to. That worker is said to have disclosed Diamond’s private medical information, and described her as ‘a freak’, ‘he’ and ‘it.’
Diamond says she was then assaulted shortly after arriving at that prison, and also claims to have suffered two straight days of sexual harassment by a worker who locked her in his office two days in a row.
The trans rights campaigner said: ‘Being a woman in a mens prison is a nightmare. Ive been stripped of my identity. I never feel safe. Never. I experience sexual harassment on a daily basis, and the fear of sexual assault is always a looming thought.
‘Im bringing this lawsuit to bring about change on behalf of a community that deserves the inherent dignity to simply exist.’
Diamond successfully sued the GDC and US Department of Justice in 2015 after a previous spell in a men’s prison.
That led to changes in policy on housing trans inmates. But Diamond says these had not been enacted by the time she was re-incarcerated for a parole violation related to a non-violent offense in 2019.
Her second lawsuit alleges that the GDC violated her Constitutional rights by failing to protect her from sexual assault, and knowingly put her in a dangerous situation.
Diamond is fighting the case with Beth Littrell, a senior attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
She told Atlanta Daily World that her spells in men’s prisons have ‘devastated’ her mental health, given her PTSD and let her to attempt suicide.
But Diamond has vowed to bring about systematic changes for other trans prisoners like her, saying: ‘My hope is that the future is brighter for people like me.
‘I hope this lawsuit forever changes the way transgender people in Georgia are treated. This fight is not just my fight, its our fight.’
Guidance on whether trans prisoners can be put in a facility that aligns with their gender identity varies from state to state.
Meanwhile, 2020 is on course to be the deadliest year for trans people in recorded history, with 36 violently killed this year so far.
Black transgender women are at the highest risk of violent assaults or murder.
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