In the past few years, campus rape has become a much more prominent headline in the news. It’s horrifying, but it’s something we have to face and change. Our mindset about the crime has to change as well. I can confess to my own personal prejudices where I felt that the victim (most commonly a woman) had a place in the blame in all of it. I realized that I was functioning within a patriarchal rhetoric that I only perpetuated with these ideas. I had to dismantle my own prejudices and rethink these cases and remember: rape is rape.
Jon Krakauer’s Missoula, is a nonfiction account of several cases of campus rape that occurred in Missoula, Montana. Missoula is largely a college town, made that way by the University of Montana campus there, which also holds their star college football team. This is a town where people take pride in their football teams, where they show their school colors, and they attend every game.
What I didn’t realize about this small town was that in the early part of this decade, it became a central location for multiple rape cases. And while each case was a different scenario, it came to light that the local police department and the litigators were unprepared and untrained to handle these intense situations with the care and unbiased nature they deserved. In a town where football players are treated like heroes immune to castigation, a community is made to face the harsh reality that their current justice system is flawed.
There are some triumphs and some defeats. Krakauer’s book is well-researched, going through copious amounts of case files, interviews, and personal investigation. For me, this book really shed light on the growing issue of campus rape and how the crime is handled when victims come forward and must share the trauma of what happened, reliving it again.