Tales from A Woman’s Prison


                       " Nirvana “                    by  Alice Strasbourg  

This is what I heard; Nirvana jumped down the stairs and broke her leg just so she could get out of prison for a while. Despite having a cast on her leg, while she was in the hospital, she was caught sexually molesting the woman in the bed next to her. They quickly sent her right back here and then to the mental hospital a month later.


I hated it when someone messed up our chances of being taken seriously if we needed medical attention. They always think inmates want the hospital to escape or get drugs.


Until Nirvana came back, and we heard what happened at the hospital, I never paid her much attention. She was about 5’4, weighed about 130 lbs. Not attractive or overly unattractive. She dressed and acted like a stud, but I never heard about her being with a woman the whole time she was in here. 


I didn’t know what she was in for or how much time she had. I didn’t ask her directly cause she might get an attitude about me being in her business. So I asked women who were in the same  building she was in.


This is what I could piece together:

Nirvana had been in and out of foster homes and jail since she was 11 years old. Her real mother and father died in a house fire when she was that age.


Her real mother and father were monsters. Both had done 10 yrs in prison and were labeled criminally insane for raping a neighbors’ kid. When they got out, they moved to another state and had a child of their own to rape.


Those parents must have thought it was funny to name their child “Nirvana”, or maybe they didn’t know what it meant. It means to be in a perfect state of peace, free of all suffering. Not only did their daughter suffer, but they treated her like an animal. They raped her, beat her, and made her their slave. They beat her and put cigarettes out on her in places that no one could see. Nirvana slept on the floor in a closet most of the time.


So as not to arouse suspicion, they let her go to school, but she was under strict orders not to tell what they were doing to her. By the time she was 10, her mother took her to get her tubes tied. She told the hospital that Nirvana was mentally challenged and let men ‘mess with her’ cause she didn’t know any better. Her period had come on and the mother didn’t want her to get pregnant.


Of course the real reason was so she didn’t get pregnant by her father and the other man they started bringing around to rape Nirvana. They’d drug her and charge a lot of money to let men rape their daughter. Besides prostituting their 10 yr old daughter, her parents sold 150 proof moon shine.  They lived in the woods, so they didn’t worry about getting caught. They had enough alarms, dogs and guns to know if someone was coming up the dirt lane.


It got to the point where teachers complained about Nirvana smelling real bad, so they sent her to the nurse’s office for a check up. The nurse rolled up her sleeve and noticed bruises. She saw cuts, cigarette burns and welts on her back and stomach. Nirvana wouldn’t say who did that to her. The nurse called the police.  


Nirvana was taken to a foster home; her parents were arrested for cruelty to a minor. But since Nirvana refused to say who hurt her and her parents said some men attacked her in the woods,  the police had to let them go. Nirvana went back to them and back to the abuse.


They say the father started injecting Nirvana with heroine, instead of the sleeping pills they normally gave her. She was doped up and raped by a steady stream of men on weekends. When she turned 11, the mother took her out of school by saying she was too mentally unstable to continue. The teachers didn’t know that Nirvana’s behavior was from being addicted to heroine.


Now that they didn’t have to worry about nosey teachers, Nirvana was doped up and raped every day. They'd beat her if she refused to hold out her arms or open her legs.


One night, the father didn’t have any heroine to give her, but made her have sex with several men anyway. It was extremely painful and Nirvana got lost somewhere in that horrible pain.


When all the men left that night and her parents were asleep from drinking too much moon shine, Nirvana came out of the closet. She went out to the shed, got the gasoline can, and poured gas all over her parent’s bedroom. She grabbed her doll, lit a match and ran outside. Her parents burnt to death in that fire.


Police found her 2 days later; convulsing and sick in the woods, huddled under a big log, curled up with her doll. She spent a lot of time in the hospital recovering from heroine and venereal diseases. She wouldn’t say how the fire started, but she did tell everything her parents did to her. It was assumed that she did it, but the police didn’t charge her with anything since they had no proof and she had suffered so much. 


When she was better, a family took her in and tried to give her a better life. Nirvana burnt down her foster home. Nobody got hurt, but after that, nobody wanted to raise Nirvana.


She was shipped off to the city, and placed in an orphanage. She'd sneak out of the orphanage and get arrested for stealing, fighting and drinking. Since they couldn’t control her, Nirvana was sentenced to a juvenile detention center until she turned 18. She escaped, went to another city and hit the streets. Between drugs, prostituting, robbery and assault, she was in and out of prison.


That life really messed her up. She had scars on her face and had that leathery skin that most heroine addicts have. I only looked directly at her once. The light in her eyes had gone out.


When she came back from the hospital, she was placed on lock up, pending charges for sexual assault. The guards let her out every morning to shower and exercise since she had a cast on her leg. One day she set her mattress on fire. The guards got to her in time, so she only suffered minor burns. The next day, she was transferred to the mental hospital.


That’s the story of Nirvana, whose name means “to be in a perfect state of peace.”