Missoula Montana is your typical college town. There are plenty of College antics to go around: studying, making friends, partying, and of course the football games. From 2008 – 2012 hundreds of students reported sexual assault. Many of the circumstances involved alcohol, or heavy flirting gone too far. The police in most of these cases gave little attention to the alleged victim believing it was a party and the girl was just feeling regrets after consenting to sex. Missoula is by no means the exception, in most states alleged rape victims are treated as thought they brought on the assault themselves. Often, due to this sad statistic, many assaults, more than we will ever know, go unreported.
In a case study, Krakauer shares what happened with 5 such cases during a four-year period in Missoula Montana. Their stories of shame, self-doubt, ridicule, nightmares, and in some – the court case that rehashes it all again. Some will win their case, some will not… but all five of the victims will carry with them forever what happened, one night, in Missoula.
Yes. I am a diverse reader. Over the years I have found myself drawn to non fiction. Certain subjects call my attention and when I found this book on Audible.com I downloaded it immediately. Rape, like bullying, is a huge problem in our world that leaves devastating life long marks on its victims.
I have read/listened to Jon Krakauer books before (Into Thin Air, Into The Wild, Under The Banner Of Heaven) and find his research to be thorough. Krakauer gets to the heart of the matter, never dragging things out unnecessarily and this book was no exception.
MISSOULA is not an easy listen. Each assault is very detailed in how it happened, the circumstances, and what happened in the days, weeks, and years to follow. These girls will question themselves, wondering it they deserved what they got, if they should have been more forceful in saying no, if they should have fought harder to get away… and then you have those that did not fight at all. Instead, they gave in, afraid of what their friend or boyfriend may do if they try to stop them….
No means NO.
Narrators of this book are Mozhan Mamo and Scott Brick. While Mozhan Mamo is new to me and a narrator I look forward to hearing more from, Scott Brick is a narrator I have encountered many times and find perfect for non fiction listens. Together, the two were a perfect blend of narration for this book. Very well done.
Although there were parts of the book that were hard to listen to; often you hear her side of what happened, his side, and what the courts say so you are deep in the topic several times over having to hear about how it was done and what was said – it is a book I would recommend every woman (especially college age) to either read or listen to. While sometimes the evidence was not strong enough to call rape, I was surprised in some parts how rape goes back to the basic – no means no. Even if the girl had thought it was what she wanted and at any point decided she does not – no means no.
Incredible listen. And an important one.
Missoula is nominated by the APA for the 2016 Audie Awards in the non fiction category.
The following note is a bit graphic.
Personal note: Right out of high school a group of us who all worked together liked to get together after work sometimes at someones house and have a few beers. On a particular night one of my friends who lived in the house we were partying at went up to bed pretty intoxicated late into the night. The next morning she called me and told me this,
“I was passed out on my bed when I was awakened by someone on top of me. I sort of woke up and seen it was _____________, who we worked with. I was still so out of it and I mumbled for him to get off of me, but he didn’t listen. He forced himself inside of me and I think I passed out again. When I woke up in the morning I could vaguely remember him being there and I knew he had raped me.”
I drove to her house and picked her up and brought her to the hospital. They took some samples, her clothes, even asked her to bring in the blanket off of her bed. A cop came in and took a statement while I was with her and he basically told her if drinking was a problem perhaps she should get help. By the time we left the hospital she felt sure she was some how to blame and honestly I thought maybe since she had drank so much that she had encouraged him. She decided to drop any investigation, it was too embarrassing and what if it was her fault? She never told anyone, not any other friends and for sure not her parents. We all continued to work together as though nothing had happened. Eventually she quit the job.
I share this now because after listening to this book I know that what happened to her was rape. It did not matter that she has been drinking or even if she had been flirting. I think this is the important message here. How many women live with something like this for their entire life believing that it is somehow their fault for how they dressed, how they acted, how much they drank.
No means no and without verbal consent (IE. if a person is intoxicated, sleeping, not in an awake state of mind) it is best to not do anything. Men and women alike.