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Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (2015)

de Jon Krakauer

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

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1,1696412,987 (4.08)128
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.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 64 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Truly horrifying. ( )
  auldhouse | Sep 30, 2021 |
Krakauer's work on wilderness, extreme climbing, and adventuring is my favorite non fiction writing. In this book, though, he writes with great passion about the crisis of rape on college campuses, focusing on one place, the University of Montana in Missoula. He dives deeply into a series of rapes that occurred on 2011-2012, and describes the events and subsequent school disciplinary and court proceedings in excruciating detail.

Krakauer is an arresting writer, but here he could do with more editing. Especially in the court proceedings, he runs long quotes direct from the full transcripts. I could have done with more summary here, especially given that the details had already been covered extensively earlier.

But though I've heard about the campus rape problem, I'd also heard about the poor due process offered by universities. This book is a good corrective to that, helping to refocus on the bigger problem, that women are being raped at a high rate, and men are getting away with it. ( )
  DanTarlin | Sep 18, 2021 |
Missoula functions as a tale of two levels. At its core, it's a solid tale of investigative reporting into how sexual assaults were badly mishandled in Missoula, Montana, resulting in a DOJ investigation into their handling. Krakauer is on firm ground here. This is not a story of false impartiality and "equal time": he's on the side of the victims. Although his biases are clear, he does a good job of allowing the records and the words of the participants to speak for themselves.

On the second level, Missoula is a stand-in for the US at large, and Krakauer's real task is to use the events in Missoula as a lens with which to investigate the US' attitude towards rape, particularly rapes on campus. At the micro level, Krakauer does an excellent job walking the reader through events to show the failures of both the university and criminal justice systems at each stage of the game. This is not a book about theory and Krakauer avoids anything that might be construed as jargon: it's a book about real people and real actions, and the concreteness of the reporting makes these failures vivid and strong. At the next remove, however, Krakauer is less sure. He is aware of the wider cultural failures that lead to these systems; of football culture, of "boys will be boys", of victim blaming, and he references these in the text. But he does not step back and wrap these elements together, to connect the concrete with the theoretical. That's unfortunate, because while mansplaining rape is a pitfall, Krakauer is well placed to discuss how male privilege manifests itself and could have done so more thoroughly without having to speak in abstractions.

For people who have read extensively on rape in the US today, I don't think Missoula offers a great deal that's new, and Krakauer's recent realization that yes, rape is a huge problem! is somewhat grating. (To his credit, he does recognize the work of others, particularly the reporting of Gwen Florio and Katie J.M. Baker in Missoula specifically, and credits them appropriately.) There's no revelations that Missoula's police and prosecutorial culture, though terrible, was uniquely so. In the end, the message is that Missoula is not different from Charlottesville or Tallahassee or any number of US cities.

Nonetheless, it offers a solid blend of reportage and background and deserves a favorable review. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
I should have known I couldn't read this book by the title but I picked it up and tried. Nope.
  Tosta | Jul 5, 2021 |
That was so, so heavy. And informative. And rage-inducing. This is a must-read, especially for people in college or working for a university. Rape culture is real, and it starts by telling victims that unwanted sexual attention or activity is their fault. Krakauer packs a lot of necessary punches in debunking such a damaging accusation.

I do wish Krakauer had addressed male rape, but I understand that it could and should be its own study. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 64 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
"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."
adicionado por bookfitz | editarLos Angeles Times, Lacy M. Johnson (Apr 22, 2015)
 
"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. "
adicionado por bookfitz | editarBoston 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.
adicionado por ozzer | editarNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Apr 19, 2015)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (2 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Jon Krakauerautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Brick, ScottNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Carella, MariaDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Fontana, JohnDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kenter, Nelsonautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Marno, MozhanNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pezzani, SebaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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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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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.

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