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Missoula : Rape and the Justice System in a College Town - Jon Krakauer

Missoula

Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

Paperback

Published: 12th January 2016
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From bestselling author Jon Krakauer, a stark, powerful, meticulously reported narrative about a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana ­- stories that illuminate the human drama behind the national plague of campus rape

Missoula, Montana, is a typical college town, with a highly regarded state university, bucolic surroundings, a lively social scene, and an excellent football team- the Grizzlies - with a rabid fan base.

The Department of Justice investigated 350 sexual assaults reported to the Missoula police between January 2008 and May 2012. Few of these assaults were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. In this, Missoula is also typical.

A DOJ report released in December of 2014 estimates 110,000 women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four are raped each year. Krakauer's devastating narrative of what happened in Missoula makes clear why rape is so prevalent on American campuses, and why rape victims are so reluctant to report assault.

Acquaintance rape is a crime like no other. Unlike burglary or embezzlement or any other felony, the victim often comes under more suspicion than the alleged perpetrator. This is especially true if the victim is sexually active; if she had been drinking prior to the assault - and if the man she accuses plays on a popular sports team. The vanishingly small but highly publicized incidents of false accusations are often used to dismiss her claims in the press. If the case goes to trial, the woman's entire personal life becomes fair game for defense attorneys.

This brutal reality goes a long way towards explaining why acquaintance rape is the most underreported crime in America. In addition to physical trauma, its victims often suffer devastating psychological damage that leads to feelings of shame, emotional paralysis and stigmatization. PTSD rates for rape victims are estimated to be 50%, higher than soldiers returning from war.

In Missoula, Krakauer chronicles the searing experiences of several women in Missoula - the nights when they were raped; their fear and self-doubt in the aftermath; the way they were treated by the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys; the public vilification and private anguish; their bravery in pushing forward and what it cost them.

Some of them went to the police. Some declined to go to the police, or to press charges, but sought redress from the university, which has its own, non-criminal judicial process when a student is accused of rape. In two cases the police agreed to press charges and the district attorney agreed to prosecute. One case led to a conviction; one to an acquittal. Those women courageous enough to press charges or to speak publicly about their experiences were attacked in the media, on Grizzly football fan sites, and/or to their faces. The university expelled three of the accused rapists, but one was reinstated by state officials in a secret proceeding. One district attorney testified for an alleged rapist at his university hearing. She later left the prosecutor's office and successfully defended the Grizzlies' star quarterback in his rape trial. The horror of being raped, in each woman's case, was magnified by the mechanics of the justice system and the reaction of the community.

Krakauer's dispassionate, carefully documented account of what these women endured cuts through the abstract ideological debate about campus rape. College-age women are not raped because they are promiscuous, or drunk, or send mixed signals, or feel guilty about casual sex, or seek attention. They are the victims of a terrible crime and deserving of compassion from society and fairness from a justice system that is clearly broken.

-Excellent. . . . Krakauer doesn't just tell the story of these crimes. As he has done so brilliantly in his other books . . . he sets the story firmly in the context of social history.- --The Boston Globe -An important, difficult and timely subject. . . . Meticulously reported, fascinating and deeply disturbing.- --USA Today -Jon Krakauer began his career as an author of taut, finely reported outdoor adventures; seven books later, he emerges as the conscience of a nation.- --The Christian Science Monitor -Missoula will be a touchstone of any future correction to the rape culture we live in.- --Minneapolis Star Tribune -Jon Krakauer began his career as an author of taut, finely reported outdoor adventures; seven books later, he emerges as the conscience of a nation. . . . Investigative reporters--and Krakauer is one of the craft's finest practitioners, diligent, dogged, and artful--are nothing so much as trial attorneys with pens rather than costly silk ties.- --The Christian Science Monitor -Compelling. . . . Meticulous. . . . Krakauer is a writer committed above all else to asking difficult questions. . . . [A] timely and important book.- --Los Angeles Times -Meticulously reported, fascinating and deeply disturbing. . . . By probing the specific, Krakauer illuminates upsetting generalities. . . . Krakauer--a journalist who is also a compelling writer--artfully keeps the books from becoming a compendium of facts. . . . It's an important, difficult and timely subject.- --USA Today -Compelling. . . . Clear and dispassionate, offering level-headed, in-depth reportage.- --Chicago Tribune -A narrative nonfiction page-turner. . . . Krakauer skillfully strengthens his sources' recollections without taking away their agency.- --Buzzfeed -A devastating expose of colleges and local law enforcement. . . . A substantive deep dive into the morass of campus sex crimes, where the victim is too often treated like the accused.- --Entertainment Weekly -A good and needed thing. . . . Powerful. . . . Krakauer has done a great service by taking on this subject.- --Newsweek -Krakauer exposes the cavalier attitude of police, prosecutors and football fans toward victims of acquaintance rape in the Montana town full of fanatics for the University of Montana football team.- --The Denver Post -A clear and undeniable picture of a broken system. . . . Krakauer's straightforward writing resists sensationalism. . . . This is a book we all needed.- --Missoula Independent -A harrowing read. . . . Missoula stands as both a reminder of the forces arrayed against women raising their voices, and of the tremendous power of the telling of their stories.- --The Toronto Star -Krakauer's evocative reporting, honed to a fine edge of anger, vividly conveys the ordeal of victims and their ongoing psychological dislocations. . . . A hard-hitting true-crime expose that looks underneath the he-said-she-said to get at the sexist assumptions that help cover up and enable these crimes.- --Publishers Weekly (starred) -Riveting. . . . A raw and difficult but necessary read.- --Kirkus Reviews

ISBN: 9780804170567
ISBN-10: 0804170568
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 12th January 2016
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 13.1  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.3
Edition Number: 1