Missoula

Missoula

Rape and the Justice System in A College Town

Book - 2015
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Random House, Inc.

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.



Baker & Taylor
Chronicles the experiences of several women in Missoula, Montana, who claimed to be raped by University of Montana football players, highlighting the inequities of the law in regard to rape allegations and the treatment of rape victims and perpetrators.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385538732
0385538731
Branch Call Number: 362.883 K858m
Characteristics: xiv, 367 pages ; 25 cm

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CarleeMcDot
Aug 31, 2017

The hubby was planning on listening to the audio version of this title, so I thought I'd grab the book from the library. The author is a fave of ours (Into Thin Air and Into The Wild both being awesome reads), so I knew this would be another great one. Now, let me start off by saying I don't mean "great" as in "happy-go-lucky" or "sunshine and butterflies". This is a very difficult subject - rape (specifically non-stranger sexual assault). I felt it sort of read like an episode of Law & Order: SVU, but the victims in these cases were real. It is an absolute shame how sexual assault is treated in the justice system, but maybe a book like this may shed some light on the issues and bring about change. I would strongly urge college age women give his book a read. Rapists are not only men hiding in bushes, wearing ski masks, they can be people who you deeply love and trust. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

DCPL_Brian Dec 19, 2016

Missoula is another timely work of long form journalism by Jon Krakauer. Krakauer uses his unique voice and engaging storytelling to tackle the issue of college rape culture in this disturbing look at a typical public university in Montana.

AL_LESLEY Nov 09, 2016

That a book on non-stranger rape has become so widely read is amazing. Though some of the court transcripts can be repetitive and dry isn't that a representation of the reality? I rather think that adds to the book and the understanding of how our justice system, both police investigations and court proceedings, works and the struggle that exists to acknowledge the prevalence of rape mythology. This book is an amazing step in the right direction, a challenge to each person to open their eyes and examine their own biases and misconceptions. I haven't ended up hating Missoula or football players and I believe Krakauer was fair in his representation of Missoula as an example of colleges across the entire country and the problem that most refuse to acknowledge as such. I listened to the audio and the narrator was great.

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Gensc
Sep 02, 2016

I will forever read anything Jon Krakauer writes. His type of journalistic storytelling is compelling and makes his books difficult to put down. This book's subject matter is a tough read. It is sad, upsetting, and incredibly frustrating and does not have a happy ending. But is great place to start conversations from regarding our justice system and the handling of sexual violence. I highly recommend it but it is not for the faint of heart.

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karpomarx
Aug 26, 2016

Every mother, father, and child (in mid to late teen years) needs to read this book. Especially girls getting ready to attend college. Such a great book that sheds light on decades of truth in the dating and friendship worlds.

j
Jshuang72
Aug 08, 2016

Krakauer is always good at his research and this is no exception. He has thoroughly investigated the "rape crisis" in Missoula. An interesting read for those wanting to know more about this societal problem, especially since the Brock Turner (Stanford swimmer) case recently was in the news.

s
steve_tannen
Aug 08, 2016

A Must Read for EVERY parent. How do we raise men that can simultaneously be respectful of all life, and still know when to assert themselves in emergency situations?

How can we raise women confident enough to avoid placing themselves in high risk & no win situations?

How can we as parents ensure young adults behave with maturity and accountability for themselves?

No easy answers.

AL_JILLA Aug 04, 2016

Great read. I enjoyed the information and the courtroom scenes. I found myself getting very frustrated with the way the lawyers tried to get their obviously guilty clients off, but knowing this is how things work in the court systems, all I could do was continue to read and hope things will one day change.

j
jacsmith77
Jul 26, 2016

I wish I had read this before going to college, it would have provided so much insight into the misconceptions of rape and especially non-stranger rape. This truly should be required reading for young people so that stereotypes and misconceptions of sexual assault are analyzed and meaningful changes can be made.

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KNewsome1
Jun 28, 2016

Highly recommended for anyone who has a child, male or female, heading off to college. Recommended for the college attendee as well. Great read. Informative and engrossing.

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karpomarx
Aug 26, 2016

karpomarx thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

AL_JILLA Aug 04, 2016

AL_JILLA thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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LibraryChicken
Jun 25, 2016

Krakauer uses a recent controversy at the university in Missoula to look how men who rape women they know are protected by custom, police attitudes, prosecutoral prejudice, and legal procedures from consequences. The women are left with fear and therapy.

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