'It’s the most helpless feeling': Women forced to live behind bars with male rapists speak out

Women's prison.
Women's prison. | Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

When Americans first learn that male prisoners convicted of violent sexual assault, rape and murder are being housed with women, they're shocked.  

Under the banner of “gender identity” men who are hardened criminals but self-identify as female are now allowed to request a transfer to women’s prisons. This is happening in states across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Even before transgender ideology was codified into law, men who identify as women were being placed in women’s jails. 

In a bonus episode of The Christian Post’s documentary-style investigative podcast series, “Generation Indoctrination: Inside The Transgender Battle,” Amie Ichikawa, who once was incarcerated and now leads the nonprofit organization Woman II Woman, revealed that when she called home to tell her mother that she was locked up with men, they couldn't believe it. 

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“It's the most helpless feeling I've had to date,” Ichikawa recalled of her time in prison at the Central California Women’s Facility, which is colloquially known as Chowchilla prison.

Listen to CP's BONUS Episode: Men In Women's Prisons? The 'Insane' And Terrifying Situation Plaguing Female Inmates

“Just to know that you have absolutely no control of your environment, your own physical wellbeing, your mental health, nothing. And there's really no one you can talk to about it. It's so unbelievable that I would call home every day crying for weeks, trying to explain to my family that there was a serial rapist housed here. And that this is legal, that the state really did it,” she continued.

“[My family] thought I was delusional,” she recalls. “And that just adds to the helplessness, the feeling of utter vulnerability. It's just like you're emotionally naked. And it creates this cloud of hopelessness that sits over the entire prison. The whole population is on pins and needles and it creates more tension.”

While the first five installments in CP's podcast series focus on how children are being indoctrinated into claiming transgender identities in schools and how rising numbers of them are being sent down a pathway of experimental medicalization and body mutilation, the plight of prisoners is germane to the broader debate over gender ideology in all facets of society. 

Laws and regulations are increasingly being changed with regard to prisons amid the increase in transgender identification. Ichikawa recounted how the experimental use of cross-sex hormones are not only being pushed on children but on an oft-forgotten population: female prisoners.

Ichikawa reported that synthetic testosterone, which is called a “hot drug,” is being distributed in medical lines at prison clinics and pushed on women with a more masculine appearance. 

The so-called hot drug must be administered by prison clinic staff, whereas their trans-identifying male counterparts who are on estrogen, a “cold drug,” can take it in their rooms. 

“Anyone who is even remotely masculine with a low ponytail or anything is asked if they want to get on testosterone,” she said, and the process of going on the cross-sex hormones is quick. “And it's much more accessible than anything else. Much easier than getting “a mammogram or an X-ray for a broken bone.”

Ichikawa further recounted that some women have even told her that they wanted to take testosterone so that they can grow stronger, protect themselves from the men inside the prison walls and survive.

CP emailed two officials at the California Department of Corrections, specifically inquiring about the accessibility of cross-sex hormones and the medical protocols within prison clinics that Ichikawa described. This reporter also asked about the safety of women who are locked up with men, and how many men are expected to be approved for transfer in the weeks and months ahead. CP's questions went unanswered.  

Internationally-recognized human rights found in the Geneva Convention states explicitly that female prisoners of war must be housed separately from men. Yet, with the incursion of gender ideology in public policy, that long-held standard does not apply domestically. Meanwhile, purportedly prominent international government entities and purportedly mainstream human rights groups are not only silent regarding women being housed with men in Western countries, but push the ideology that created these problems. 

“The reason there isn't an outcry from the human rights community is that they have largely been captured by this ideology, which is not just accepted at international entities like the United Nations, but promoted by them. They have designated an independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Amanda Stulman, who represents the U.S. chapter of Keep Prisons Single Sex (KPSS), a U.K.-based organization that advocates for the sex-based rights of incarcerated women. 

Stulman, who is a New York-based attorney but does not function in that capacity in her advocacy role with KPSS-US, went on to explain that there's no help coming from international human rights organizations, which, like the U.N., promote self-declared “gender” identities over biological reality and sex.

“This is a violation of the eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This is in conflict with the United Nations' own standards of minimum rules for prisons, which are known as the Mandela Fellow rules. It's in violation of the Geneva Conventions, which don't apply in a non-war dynamic, but were the guiding principles for this portion of the Mandela rules,” Stulman said. 

Aside from the legal framework, “it's just absolute common sense” that prisons remain sex-specific, she added. 

In California, Senate Bill 132, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020, explicitly allows anyone on the basis of their "gender identity" to transfer into the prisons if they so desire, meaning men who claim to be women could more easily enter facilities like CCWF, where Ichikawa served her time. 

Yet even before laws and regulations started changing to incorporate "gender identity", often stealthily that was largely hidden from the public via administrative processes, men have been allowed to be housed with women on a case-by-case basis. Stulman recounted to CP that the first known case that she was aware of was Richard Masbruch and the stated reason given that he could be housed in the women's prison was because he didn't have an intact penis because he had tried to burn it off with acid after completing his crime.

"His crime was that he held hostage a woman and her mother and he raped and sodomized the daughter, and he applied electrical shocks to them," Stulman explained. 

"That man who committed that crime on the mere basis of not having a fully functioning penis was allowed to transfer into the women's prison in California even before SB 132."

In Canada, a notable legislative change happened in 2017 when “gender identity” and “gender expression” were added as categories of personhood to the national Human Rights Act and the criminal code with the passage of Bill C-16. As an eventual result of that policy change and subsequent revisions to various regulations, male prisoners could claim to have a female “gender identity” and request to be housed with women — instead of men — in Canadian prisons. 

One man who did just that was Michael Williams, who in 2005 murdered 13-year-old Nina Louise Courtpatte on a golf course in Edmonton, Alberta. Williams was convicted of his crimes but began identifying as a woman and was granted a transfer to a women's prison, the Fraser Valley Women’s Institute in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Sources inside the prison told the Toronto Sun that because Williams wanted to maintain an erection, he only took estrogen two weeks a month. 

According to Heather Mason, an advocate for incarcerated women, within the prison walls, Williams was known for maladaptive behavior and was ordered to be sent back to a men’s prison. His recent requests to be transferred back to that women’s prison have been denied. 

Some who understand the threat that men might pose to women in prison argue that only those who have undergone surgeries to remove their genitals should be allowed to live among incarcerated women. Mason is not persuaded by that argument in light of cases she knows about and the number of ways in which men have assaulted women.

“Sexual predators don't just stop being sexual predators once you cut their penis off,” she insisted, citing Matthew “Madilyn” Harks, a pedophile who was convicted on two counts of abusing two children but has reportedly abused dozens of minors.

Even though he had undergone surgery, he still managed to sexually assault an indigenous woman in the bathroom of Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, Ontario, where Mason was once incarcerated on drug-related charges. 

“He got sent back to prison for making inappropriate comments and sexually harassing one of my friends in the halfway house. Everywhere he goes, he has victims and he likes to go after the women who are small and childlike, or he goes after the women who are developmentally delayed,” Mason said. 

“He's still an issue and you don't need a penis to hurt these women. There are other objects. There are his hands, there's his mouth.”

All surgery does is remove the possibility of pregnancy after rape, she added.

Among other indignities that women prisoners have reported to her via a survey that she conducted is that of a male prisoner who exposed himself to several women and sexually assaulted women. He also reportedly threw urine and feces at women who were in a different residential unit. Some of the women have reportedly taken to putting rocks in their socks so they can beat the men away with greater force.

In November of last year, the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), a radical feminist group, filed a lawsuit on behalf of four incarcerated women challenging a California law that allows men who claim to be women or “non-binary” to be housed in women’s correctional facilities. Their multi-pronged case includes the argument that the law is not constitutional and violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Because the policy subjects incarcerated women to known, substantial risks of physical and sexual violence — including consequences such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections — WoLF argues this is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Presently, according to WoLF, over 300 men have applied to transfer into the women’s prisons, and dozens have already been transferred. The remaining requests are pending and more are likely to be approved. Both the state of California and the American Civil Liberties Union continue to seek dismissal of this case. In July, the presiding judge issued an order denying two motions for leave. However, due to delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic backlog, the case is still making its way through the system. 

Send news tips to: Listen to Brandon Showalter's Life in the Kingdom podcast at The Christian Post and edifi app Follow Brandon Showalter on Facebook: BrandonMarkShowalter Follow on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

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