“Jon Krakauer’s book Missoula: Rape and Justice System in College Town” is an eye-opening account of several sexual abuse cases that took place in Missoula’s College campus. Krakauer interviewed many victims in hope of understanding the reasons behind this injustice and society’s hesitance in taking action against the perpetrators. The author used graphic language which made the victims’ accounts very real and the readers felt sick to their stomachs: however, the use of graphic language was necessary as it was imperative to make the readers realize the gravity of the situation.
Between January 2008 and May 2012, reported sexual assault cases investigated by the Department of Justice were 350, unfortunately only a handful of these cases were properly taken care by either the university or the local governments. A report released in December 2014 by the Department of Justice, outlined that about 110,000 women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four were attacked every year but only a few of these cases were reported. (Krakauer, 2016)
The author explores what seems like a culture of sexual assault in Missoula and pinpoints a few reasons that the victims do not come forward with the injustice done to them. On the college campus the famous basketball team “The Grizzlies” has a fan base that includes many young women. Among these women, many assault victims have come forward claiming that the members of the team have been the assault perpetrators but these claims were either never investigated or dismissed later on. This indicates that if the perpetrator came from a position of power, his position helped him in avoiding any punishment.
In other cases, acquaintances were the ones that raped the victims. It is for this reason that most of these cases did not get reported because acquaintance rape cases tend to get messy as it is the victim that comes under suspicion more than the perpetrator. Victims are vilified and their personal lives put on display by the defense attorney. Circumstances under which the assault occurred is highly publicized; this is especially true if the victim had been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the assault, instead of showing the jury and the people that alcohol makes the perpetrator dangerous and the victim vulnerable, it is played off as a misunderstanding. To avoid such a situation and be ostracized publicly many sexual crimes go unreported and the culprit gets to roam around freely without ever paying for their crimes while the victims suffer in silence. (Bazelon, 2015)
Sexual deviance cannot be controlled if instead of the perpetrator, the victim is held accountable, shamed and their story publicized as that day’s hot gossip. Culprits’ wealth and social standing seem to play a huge deciding factor in whether they will get the punishment they deserve or not. It is unfortunate that victims’ lives completely deteriorate after the assault but the culprits’ lives are hardly affected. Many victims have stated that when they reported about the assault, police officers asked if it was a misunderstanding and if the victims were just doing this to “get back” at the perpetrator, making even the victims doubt if their account of the incident even occurred. (Bazelon, 2015)
In conclusion, sexual deviance will prevail as long as victims are not taken seriously, the ones that come forward are shamed, perpetrators are protected due to their social status and the authorities do not do their job properly. In this day and age if the justice system still does not understand the trauma that the victims go through and how they need proper help and sympathy then the justice system has failed them and that is extremely unfortunate.
Bazelon, E. (2015, April 28). Jon Krakauer’s ‘Missoula,’ About Rape in a College Town. Retrieved July 28, 2021, from The NewYork Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/books/review/jon-krakauers-missoula-about-rape-in-a-college-town.html
Krakauer, J. (2016). Missoula: Rape and the justice system in college town. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.