REVIEW | Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town


Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

AUTHOR: Jon Krakauer

ISBN: 0385538731 (ISBN13: 9780385538732)

PUBLISHER: Doubleday

PAGES: 368 pages


SETTING: Missoula, Montana, USA


This is a compelling yet depressing nonfiction about the rape culture in small and seemingly peaceful college town, Missoula, in Montana, USA. This book was so emotionally hard to read.

The book follows couple of rape trail, from when they happened to the final legal decision. It shows how rape culture especially victim blaming play roles in sexual assault legal procedures, and how people are biased when coming to rape cases. Also, how little powder the victims had although they are the people who's been hurt at the first place. It also shows how many misunderstanding people have for rapes. Most of rapes happened with the people that victims are familiar with, most victims were afraid of their life when being raped, most victims feel guilty and do not want to tell others right after it happened, and some victims were traumatized so much their brain forgot some details in order to protect them. Yet people still accuse victims such as, why you didn't scream while being raped, why you didn't tell anybody. Moreover, there's still the saying of "they lied about being raped because they are attention seeker". How ridiculous. 

My heart literally hurt when reading this book, not only for how many blames victims need to take after the assault happened, but also for how difficult it is for sexual assault victims to prosecute their cases, even with all the evidence they have. As a person who knows very little about the US justice system, this book was informative, even educational about the procedure and what went wrong.  It is sorrow to see even when universities standed out and protected the victims by expel the sexual abuser, the legal department still refused to prosecute the case. Not to mention a lot of times, sexual abusers will continue to assault others with the school's neglect. 

One moment I remembered clearly in the book, when the legal department refused to prosecute a sexual assault case, their reason was, to charge a boy will ruined his life no matter how the charge goes, they need to be very carefully with that, because most of them are "good boys", even football players, we don't want to ruin their lives. And what they did not say was the victims lives were already ruined, they live in horror everyday for probably the rest of their lives, and they abusers keep getting out of the responsibilities and justice because they are "good boys".

This was my second book by Jon Krakauer, the first one was INTO THE WILD. His writing was captivating even with all the dry court materials, and I liked how he narrated stories from different people. I only wish the ending of each trails were more uplifting but that was out of controls of the author.