When an individual is raped in this country, more than 90 percent of the time the rapist gets away with the crime. With the current discussion about sexual assault, punishment (or lack thereof), privilege and college campuses, especially in light of the recent appallingly weak sentencing of the Stanford swimmer who raped an unconscious woman on campus, this is a book that should be at the very top of everyone’s reading list. I hadn’t heard of Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town when it was published in 2015, but in following the Stanford rapist case I read a quote by Jon Krakauer, one of my favorite authors, and wondered why they would be interviewing him for this story. And then I discovered his book and thought I’ve got to read this, it’s so relevant right now and he’s a great investigative author.
Missoula is a non-fiction book that discusses sexual assaults that occurred between 2010 and 2012 at the University of Montana, a huge, public, football-obsessed university (not unlike the University of Florida, where I went to school) located in the small town of Missoula, Montana. Krakauer investigates these sexual assaults and the responses to them by the police department, the university, the county attorney’s office and the public. And he paints a disturbing picture that is unfortunately probably not an outlier in the way that sexual assaults are handled in college towns, and one can only imagine in other facets of society as well.