Carceral Feminism Isn’t the Answer to Sexual Violence

A woman in a white jell cell. Only the middle part of her body is visible. She has tattoos, is wearing a brown knitted top, and is holding her hands up in front of her chest. She has on two rings, and she is wearing handcuffs. RODNAE Productions/Pexels

This essay powerfully articulates the abolitionist feminist perspective, with a searing indictment of how the criminal legal system offers a false promise to survivors, often criminalizing us and furthering the violence we experience. It also challenges activists to consider healing and accountability outside of police and prisons through the lens of abolitionist feminism. Regardless of your views on the appropriate response to sexual violence perpetrators, this article will make you think about unconventional possibilities.

“While the left has generally advocated curbing prison expansion and shrinking the scale of the police state, many have held on to the belief that prisons remain a necessary feature of our society for people who have committed uniquely violent acts, in particular rape and murder. In refusing to ground in an abolitionist politic, the left has been complicit in our continued reliance on the prison-industrial complex.”