Narrator: Mozhan Marno, Scott Brick
Length: 11 Hours 58 Minutes
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on 2016-01
Genres: True Crime, General
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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. For a woman in this situation, the pain of being forced into sex against her will is only the beginning of her ordeal. If she decides to go to the police, undertrained officers sometimes ask if she has a boyfriend, implying that she is covering up infidelity. She is told rape is extremely difficult to prove and repeatedly asked if she really wants to press charges. If she does want to charge her assailant, district attorneys frequently refuse to prosecute. If the assailant is indicted, even though a victim's name is supposed to be kept confidential, rumors start in the community and on social media, labeling her a slut, unbalanced, an attention-seeker. The vanishingly small but highly publicized incidents of false accusations are used to dismiss her claims in the press. If the case goes to trial, the woman's entire personal life often becomes fair game for the defense attorneys. This brutal reality goes a long way toward enplaning 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. In Missoula, Krakauer chronicles the 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.
Why Did I Listen To Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer?:
I feel like everything I read has some basis with Twitter, aside from Instagram, it is the social media network that I check the most often. One day on the twitters, I saw SydneyNY_ talking about Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer, and well, non-fiction intrigues me so after she was talking about it and her mom’s reaction to it, I decided to bite the bullet and buy myself the audiobook. Friends, I am so glad I did and so glad that I happened to be on twitter during those tweets. Missoula was such an enraging, enlightening read. I am still thinking about Krakauer’s book.
What’s Missoula All About?
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer takes the macro problem of rape at the collegiate level and focuses on the issue at a micro level for better understanding, using the city of Missoula, Montana which had a few high profile rape cases involving football players. Krakauer frames the book with the story of Allison Huguet who was raped by childhood friend Beau Donaldson, who played football for the University of Montana team.
The book goes into great depth examining the justice system response to rape in Missoula as well as the university adjudication system. It was fascinating to see how differently the crimes are handled by the two systems — and how each operates differently. I came out of Missoula actually quite surprised by what I read and learned. I think too, if you want to truly understand how pervasive victim blaming and rape culture is, you should read this book. I’ll say that from the perspective of a former rape crisis counselor, Krakauer really does get to the crux of the issues and I agreed with the perspective he took in this book.
How’s The Writing?
So, this is probably not the best book to listen to after a stressful day if you have high blood pressure, because Missoula: Rape And The Justice System In A College Town will just exacerbate the issue. For real, this book had me raging. I actually felt my heart beating harder because I was so angry about what I had read. I was very, very invested in Krakauer’s book. I think maybe because the issue felt personal – given that working with victims was what I did for a bit of time as a career.
Aside from inflaming my emotions, I liked how Krakauer structures the book and focuses on the different cases. I liked how there were various points of views. I liked that the book seemed to flow really well. After reading this, I actually find myself wanting to pursue more of Krakauer’s books. I just hope they do not make me feel as angry as this one did.
Did I Learn Anything?
Probably the one thing that surprised me the most about Missoula was how much better for victims the university adjudication system is. I mean, it sucks that the largest extent of punishment the rapists get are expulsion from school. However, it really doesn’t make it seem like the deck is stacked against the victim and you know, the crime was just a mistake committed by a good old boy with his whole life ahead of him. ALSO! There’s this person described in Krakauer’s book, Kirsten Pabst and it made me think of that Madeleine Albright quote – “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Yeah, this is a woman who was like the lead attorney for prosecuting sexual assault cases and when one of the football team members stands accused, she all of a sudden quits the DA’s office and works on his defense. Also, she showed up to testify on behalf of one rapist during an adjudication and yet, she never ever even called the victim. So, yeah, as harsh as it sounds, I have zero respect for the district attorney of Missoula.
How’s The Narration?
I AM SO GLAD MISSOULA IS NARRATED BY A WOMAN. Okay, so remember how I was annoyed that The Girls Of Murder City was narrated by a man. Well, this book is narrated by a woman except for the introduction and the author’s note. This is a choice that makes perfect sense – given that this book is about the experiences of women who have been raped and gone through the justice system in Missoula. Mozhan Marno narrates with gravitas and in a clear voice. She’s the absolute perfect choice for this audiobook, and as a reader, I could not be more thrilled for this narration.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
Man, this and the one of Amy Poehler looking furious are kind of the perfect GIFs for this book. You absolutely MUST listen to it.
Other reviews of Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer:
Sarah’s Bookshelves – “incredibly readable investigative journalism”
Book Journey – “Incredible listen. And an important one.”
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