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Missoula by Jon Krakauer

Missoula (2015)

by Jon Krakauer

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In Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town Jon Krakauer investigates the steps and procedures that an emotionally damaged woman must go through in order to report a rape. Using the college town of Missoula, Montana, he is careful to explain that the number of rapes reported in Missoula were no more than the national average in most college/university towns. Whether a woman went to the police to press charges or sought redress from the university, they ran the gamut of political machinations and home-town pride in their athletes. Rape is one of the most heinous of crimes as it often hinges on other people’s perception of what exactly constitutes this crime. In many cases it comes down to a “he said, she said” situation and when the accused is a college football hero many people are more than willing to judge him as the innocent party.

The book follows the cases of a few women and these were all cases of ‘acquaintance rape’ in which the victim knew and even hung out with the rapist. They were victims of a terrible crime and deserved a fair treatment from the justice system but in fact, it seemed obvious that most of the people that were in a position of authority would have preferred to see these cases simply disappear.

One quote that the author used really explains the plain and simple truth of the matter:

“... Being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get
raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped
because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone
raped them.”
Jessica Valenti
The Purity Myth

I found the subject matter of Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town to be well researched and presented in an understandable and sensitive manner. One of the problems in Missoula, and most probably in other college towns, is the sense of entitlement that star athletes are given. Victims of rape need to feel that they can speak out and be listened to by a fair and compassionate justice system but I don’t think this has always been the case. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jul 4, 2017 |
Left feeling unsatisfied with any resolutions, but grateful for the discussion. Worth a read. ( )
  mariacfox | Jun 19, 2017 |
Powerful exploration of a pervasive problem. Given what we have learned about rapists in the last 20 years should have helped dispel the myths around non-stranger rapes and greater inroads into the problem should have materialized. The stories on which this book is based are gut-wrenching. I really hope that as more people read this book that more rapists will be successfully prosecuted and that more victims will find relief. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
"The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that in 2010, the annual rate of sexual assaults of women in cities with populations under 100,000 was 0.27 percent, which for Missoula equates to 90 female victims per year, or 390 over a period of fifty-two months. This suggests that, rather than being the nation's rape capital, Missoula had an incidence of sexual assault that was in fact slightly less than the national average. That's the real scandal."

A haunting account of the state of sexual assault and the judicial system on college campuses across the U.S. Krakauer, a renowned investigative journalist, tackles the issue of rape crimes running rampant in college towns and the failure of the judicial system to protect the victims of these crimes and to prosecute the perpetrators. Krakauer's account chronicles the humiliation many victims of violent sex crimes face as they are mocked and denigrated by law enforcement and prosecutors alike. Krakauer tirelessly summarizes and extrapolates on a series of cases that took place in Missoula between 2010 and 2012 while attempting to demystify the oft misunderstood crime of acquaintance rape. While Missoula is heavy with transcripts and courtroom jargon, it is a text with significant weight and a powerful call for change. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
Sad and scary stories of several college age women raped by college men they knew. Missoula apparently worships their football team and its players, and refused to believe them guilty of the sexual assaults they commit. Both the university, and the legal system fails these female victims. Missoula is perhaps no better or no worse than other communities across the US, but Krakower has used Missoula as a case case study.

Thoroughly researched, with extensive bibliography. ( )
  cherybear | Feb 27, 2017 |
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"Nevertheless, by grappling so rigorously with this issue and with the myriad ways women are traumatized and retraumatized by seeking justice through the institutions that claim to serve us, Krakauer's investigation will succeed in altering the conversation around sexual violence in ways women's experience alone has not."
"As he has done so brilliantly in his other books — “Into Thin Air” and “Under the Banner of Heaven” among them — he sets the story firmly in the context of social history. "
added by bookfitz | editBoston Globe, William McKeen (Apr 20, 2015)
The last part of “Missoula” is devoted to Mr. Johnson’s trial, with extensive you-are-there courtroom time. It says a lot about the rest of the book — which is as crowded and painful as it is eye-opening, though it would have benefited from more of Mr. Krakauer’s thoughts and presence — that the trial is its most gripping section. For that, the author can thank Kirsten Pabst, who first appears as a Missoula County prosecutor whom the author portrays as blatantly sympathetic to the hunks accused of rape and showing no interest in their accusers. Partway through the book, she quits that job, goes into private practice and becomes one of Mr. Johnson’s defense lawyers.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Apr 19, 2015)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jon Krakauerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marno, MozhanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Rape is unique. No other violent crime is so fraught with controversy, so enmeshed in dispute and in the politics of gender and sexuality... And within the domain of rape, the most highly charged area of debate concerns the issue of false allegations. For centuries, it has been asserted and assumed that women "cry rape," that a large proportion of rape allegations are maliciously concocted for purposes of revenge or other motives. —David Lisak, Lori Gardinier, Sarah C. Nicksa, and Ashley M. Cote, "False Allegations of Sexual Assault", Violence Against Women, December 2010
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Office Solutions & Services, a Missoula office-products company, didn't have its 2011 Christmas party until January 6, 2012.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385538731, Hardcover)

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. 

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:14:35 -0400)

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