Top positive review
Important read for prospective college students, parents, college administrators, & law enforcement
Reviewed in the United States on August 2, 2018
I highly recommend that all prospective college students, their parents, and college administrators read this gut-twisting but well-written, thoroughly researched, and informative book about acquaintance rape. Although the book focuses on cases in one college town, the author's research found that rape statistics were very similar in college towns throughout the US. It's not just about Missoula.
Especially in cases when the victim knows the assailant, the criminal justice system is weighted to protect the accused rather than the victim, as the author illustrates in several detailed examples. It's an uphill battle for sexual assault victims who report the crime. While research shows that false rape accusations are low (2-8%), they are constantly regarded with skepticism by law enforcement and very rarely prosecuted. This means these sex offenders are not held accountable, likely to reoffend (while becoming more adept at it), and free among society, while victims continue to suffer long-lasting effects (like PTSD) throughout their lives. In the rare instance that a case is prosecuted, a victim's trauma is not only "re-lived," but the victim is constantly vilified throughout the "justice" process. Victims are inevitably put on trial (unlike for other crimes, such as mugging). The rapists described in this book were considered decent, likable football players who enjoyed tremendous support from crazed, cult-like Griz fans - so the victims in the Missoula cases continued to be threatened by fans even after the trials were over.
There are usually several reasons why victims don't report rape to police (even after good evidence, such as lacerations and bruising, is gathered at rape centers, for example), and Krakauer does an incredible job of explaining these reasons, including how acquaintance rape can be so damaging and difficult in its own way. For example, whereas a victim of rape by a stranger may likely fight back immediately, a victim of acquaintance rape is often so shocked and confused by the sudden violence coming from a person known to them ("Is this really happening to me?"), that the victim reacts with a sort of temporary paralysis. The victim's behavior in the aftermath of the rape is then scrutinized (and put on trial by the defense in the rare case that is prosecuted).
Loads of appreciation and admiration to Jon Krakauer, for another book of incredibly insightful reporting, and for increasing public understanding on the challenging subject of acquaintance rape.