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message 1: by Jenn (last edited Aug 24, 2018 01:50PM) (new)

Jenn | 223 comments Mod
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

Wendy's selection for September is Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. Please post your discussions here.


message 2: by Julie (new)

Julie Place | 87 comments I had a hard time with this book. First I got pretty bored with it especially towards the end. And second my thoughts and opinions kept going back and forth is he guilty or isn’t he... is she telling the truth or isn’t she? I know for one thing this country has a huge under age drinking problem!

the only case I’m going to comment on his the high school football player who had a scholarship for college ball was found guilty of rape that happened in school grounds... I mean no wonder it is so hard to convict rapists when this girl cried rape because she didn’t want her mom to know she was sexually active?!??! This ruined his life!!! And then to have the balls to not only sue the high school but then to admit years later to your “rapist” that you lied!! that girl should be sitting in jail for essentially raping this innocent guys life!!!

This book definitely made me think and question my own thoughts quite a bit. Not one of my favorite books but not a bad choice... I’m sure it will lead to a lot of good discussions


message 3: by Miguel (new)

Miguel (miggy126) | 74 comments This one took a bit longer then I would have liked. Like Julie I also had a hard time reading this book and skipped a majority of the last chapter. That being said I still found it to be a very interesting read.

Lately, with all the sexual assault accusations in politics and the #metoo movement this really spread more light on my understanding of these cases. This seems to be a real issue in college towns and like the book says it happens quite often without the case being reported. However, I am skeptical on the author's stats and the information he is providing us.

The author is siding with the victims of the cases he mentioned and I am left thinking that maybe he left out pieces of the story that were vital to defending the suspects. I could be wrong but it was just my thought. The non-guilty verdict for the star quarterback was the part that had me questioning whether the author was withholding information from us.

Regardless, rape is terrible. I'm all for doing whatever it takes to bring these cases to light. I cant imagine the trauma of dealing with these scenarios. Especially, when a woman feels comfortable because she believes she is with a trusted friend and he betrays her with rape.

In some scenarios, I do feel like the women should have exercised more caution. For example, getting so drunk at a strangers house that you have to stay over. Especially, if you are around people you don't really know. College towns are a different story. It is almost guaranteed to be somewhere you are unfamiliar with and strangers coming up to you.

It's also terrible how the victims are exposed in court in front of family and friends. How they have to re-live the ordeal in order to attempt to put an asshole behind bars. But I guess thats how it has to be to punish the suspects.

I knew sexual assault is a problem in our society and it will continue to be unless stricter laws are put into place to punish rapists. Women need to be aware of the dangers and use proper precaution, especially in college towns.


message 4: by Julie (new)

Julie Place | 87 comments I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that some of these women needed to be little more responsible and cautious! Not that they deserved to be raped at all! But when drinking to excess there is bound to be some trouble


message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (artemitch) | 96 comments I most likely won't get to the book anytime soon (I'm in a massive reading slump, guys; I'm only reading what's required), but I'd like to throw my two cents in if you don't mind.

I don't think we've paid as much attention to sexual assault before as we do now. It's a good thing that women are speaking out and their abusers are getting their comeuppance, but I'm pretty sure many, many others who have committed sexual assault are still getting away with it, which is a shame. I think one of the most infuriating things about people in power losing their position due to their misconduct is that they're still getting paid a shit-ton of money just for leaving. (Didn't that CEO-of-CBS Les Moonves guy walk away with several million dollars just for exiting after his scandal?)

I get that women should exercise caution (honestly, everyone should be careful at all times, not just of sexual assault), but it's really sad to me that they're still getting massive blame for something they didn't do. I think the prevalence of sexual assault reflects our society. Women, by a large majority, are the victims. I've read something that points out that women are taught to be conservative about their attire, but men aren't taught to respect a woman's body -- no matter how a woman dresses, a man shouldn't advance without consent. I think it's a valid point. If you look at TV, film, and music (and probably even literature), what is the ratio of each gender getting scantily clad in front of the camera? What's the counterpart to men "fucking bitches"? I know that there are people who will do whatever they want against the social order (antisocial, I guess?), but those instances should be outliers (rare), not the norm. Unfortunately, sexual assault feels like a norm right now.

I'm guessing the book went over a case where a man was wrongfully identified as a rapist, which is also devastating. I recall one case where a man was wrongfully accused of sexual assault and it ruined his life. The woman who was raped was 100% sure it was him, but it turns out that she had a faulty memory and ultimately "recognized" the wrong person. It was unfortunate, and it caused him a lot of undue stress and irreversible harm to his reputation. I don't know of a way to fix this -- how do you prevent wrongful accusations? I guess I stand by the "innocent until proven guilty" tenet. But I will say this: I believe that most women who claim to have been sexually assaulted have, in fact, been sexually assaulted. It's traumatizing to have to relive the experience in order to tell it, and I'm assuming it's humiliating as well. I don't know how many who say they have been sexually assaulted are looking for attention or what, but I think most of them are telling the truth, especially when multiple women have come out against one person.


message 6: by Wendopolis (new)

Wendopolis | 77 comments This was a tough read. I agree with the comments others have made. I don’t feel the author was successful in writing an unbiased account of the events, but that might not have been his goal. It was definitely one-sided.

This book wasn’t as compelling as some nonfiction I’ve read, but it’s an important and horrifying read all the same.


message 7: by Jenn (last edited Sep 30, 2018 10:36PM) (new)

Jenn | 223 comments Mod
I haven't finished the book, but I'm wishing now that I had. What an interesting conversation we're having, and at this time.

I'm about 1/3 into the book. The author has spent most of these 120 pages carefully detailing cases in which women have clearly been raped: blood all over her mattress, a rape exam indicating that her vaginal wall and rectum had been torn, an admission from the guy that he did in fact enter the women's restroom, film evidence and an admission that he stole his victim's jeans after raping her. Even if the author hadn't included the guy's side of the story, as well as the fact that the chief investigator believed the rapist and not the victim, I'd still know what this was: rape.

I'll finish this book up this week and post the rest of my thoughts then. Sorry I didn't finish by the deadline; it's been a strange month.

I'm going to try to get to these books earlier and stop this last-minute reading. Can't wait to start The One. I'm intrigued!


message 8: by Jenn (last edited Oct 05, 2018 06:30PM) (new)

Jenn | 223 comments Mod
Finished.

It was interesting to read Missoula at this time, when "belief" in rape is a hot topic. "#BelieveHer," as a phrase, bothers me. No one's future should ever have to hinge on whether or not a jury simply believes that the defendant committed a crime. There should always be evidence.

The problem with "#BelieveHer" is that it plants in our minds the idea that, more often than not, rape cases need to be believed or not believed, that rape cases often boil down to "he said, she said." The phrase "#BelieveHer" says to us: "In cases of rape, there can never be sufficient proof that she didn't actually want or invite sex, and so it must come down to belief--and we must believe her." Which, as anyone knows, isn't justice. If we believe a man is a rapist just because an accuser says so, then I can accuse anyone of anything and be believed just because.

But "he said, she said" isn't the problem we're facing in this country. The problem we're facing in this country is girls and women being raped, there being ample evidence of it, and society and juries still not believing the evidence. It's ridiculous for people to #BelieveHer just because. But it's equally ridiculous not to believe convincing evidence of a crime when it's presented to you. One of these two things is a real problem in our country, and it's not the former.

Missoula presents the actual problem we're facing, which isn't a matter of "he said, she said," but, rather, a matter of rapists escaping justice again and again despite ample evidence that they committed rape--and it being treated like "he said, she said." When a person is raped, evidence can be collected. There are rape exams, witness testimonies, security footage. Text messages can be read. The accused's past instances of rape and attempted rape can be unearthed and considered. Bloodied mattresses can be taken into account. When the rape victim is heard screaming behind locked doors with the rapist--that is something that can be looked at and used to determine whether or not rape occurred. I mean, one would think. And yet, as we see in Missoula, in so many rape cases, a mountain of evidence can be insufficient to convict a rapist. A straight-up confession can be insufficient reason to prosecute.

What an eye-opening, yet unsurprising, look at our justice system Missoula is.

A few other things I took away from this book:

1. I never regretted not going to any parties in college, and now I double don't regret it.

2. In the twelve hours since I finished reading Missoula, I've heard three women in eavesdropped conversations say the words "I think" and "maybe" when referring to things they probably knew for a fact.

For instance, a man at the DMV this morning said to a woman: "This line is insane!" The woman, who I know has lived in this area for many years, responded: "There used to be a checkpoint here, I think, up until a few months ago." Yes. There used to be. She doesn't just think it. She knows it. So why did she say, "I think"?

Jordan Johnson was pronounced not guilty almost entirely because his victim said "I think I was raped" in her text message 5 minutes after being raped. Girls are fucking taught to say "I think." In my household, growing up, you never made requests directly. You never made assertions. You always had to suggest and tap dance. Saying "Hey, let's have pizza tonight" was less likely to result in pizza than saying, "Do you think maybe we could have pizza tonight?" (By the way, this wasn't the case for my brother--just for me and my sisters. My brother was free to be direct.) For Jordan Johnson to get away with raping a woman, and for it to be basically because she said, tap-dancingly, "I think I was raped," instead of an assertive, direct "I was raped!" as though women are largely encouraged to make direct assertions in our society, makes me sad for the "liberal" city of Missoula.

3. So, hey! In 2016, Jordan Johnson won a settlement of $245,000 from Montana. Let it be known, Missoulans: If you rape a woman and the bitch reports you, you too could win hundreds of thousands of dollars!

4. Jon Krakauer isn't biased. He's making an assertion and defending it. He's not going to go to bat for the team that he knows is wrong.

5. Dude. Beau raped Alison. He admitted it. On tape. In front of a police officer. Knowingly. Alison agreed not to press charges if he would just get help. Not only does Beau not get help, but he taunts Alison in public. I mean, wow. When a man knows that a woman has rape on him, and he decides to treat her like shit in front of his friends anyway, you know that man has a massively over-inflated sense of power. Beau deserved everything he got and more. I'm just sad that Alison, despite the evidence, including Beau's recorded confession, is still dealing with people in her community who don't believe her. Sad and unsurprised.

Great book, Wendy. I learned a lot from it.


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