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July 20, 2015

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by John Krakauer

MissoulaMissoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

By: John Krakauer

John Krakauer grabbed my attention many years ago when he wrote “Into Thin Air” regarding his breathtaking adventures climbing Mt. Everest. His ability to put the reader on that mountain with sub-zero temperatures and horrific climbing conditions was extraordinary. Krakauer takes a sharp turn in his newest book Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, which looks at the serious problem of rape on college campuses in the United States.

With The University of Montana and beautiful mountains nearby, Missoula – not much larger than Noblesville – is an ideal place to live. U of M is home to nearly 15,000 students and a fiercely loyal fan base to their beloved football team, the Grizzlies. However, over a period of 4.5 years, local police recorded more than 350 reported sexual assaults. Of this number, few cases were handled professionally by the authorities, and many times the victims were accused of lying.

While the number seems large, only a fraction of the cases are represented as many women failed to report sexual assaults since the process is difficult to prove, and it can be traumatizing for the victim to take an assailant to court. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice estimated that 110,000 women between the ages of 18 and 24 are raped annually, and that 80 percent of these rapes go unreported. Krakauer puts real life stories on this surprising statistic, but this ultimately alludes to a sad truth: on many college campuses there are a comparable number of assaults taking place with few convictions. It is most saddening to consider the day-to-day consequences many victims face after an assault while most perpetrators repeat their behavior with additional victims.

As a father of four, this book was terribly eye-opening and one I strongly urge parents to read in order to educate the next generation on the reality and consequences of sexual assault.

Review By: Brad Howell