This painting depicts the Night of Terror, November 14, 1917. On that evening, Suffragists arrested for picketing in front of the White House were sent to the Occoquan Workhouse where they were subject to a number of abuses including beatings, stress positions, and forced feedings.
The painting shows the women being forced to strip and shower. A prison matron, depicted as a zombie, watches while a black prisoner is forced to hold the clothes of the Suffragist. (Black prisoners were forced to either wait on the white women or beat them, depending on the whim of the guards.)
The bucket of feet held by the Suffragist represents one of the hazards of imprisonment. All of the prisoners had to share a single bar of soap even though one had open syphilis sores on her legs.