Part of the reason so many rapists are able to offend with impunity is that our adversarial system of justice "has erected formidable procedural obstacles to conviction,"...
Driving home the point that Missoula actually has fewer sexual assaults reported than the national average for cities of comparable size and population, Jon Krakauer delves into the justice system as a whole. This part opened my eyes. Why are lawyers not required to tell the truth, just like witnesses are? Why do we have an adversarial (defense/prosecution) justice system instead of inquiry-based that would allow more facts to come to light than answerable in "yes/no" questions? Would this system likely result in fewer false convictions also?
Much more than shedding light and making the Missoula rape and sexual assault scandal, "Missoula" helped me understand the justice system and how it works. More importantly, it gave strong reasoning for why our justice system needs to change as well as obstacles to change.
Reading/listening to this book also changed how I will talk to my own children about consent and made me more aware of teaching my kids about acquaintance rape. Another struggle I am having is deciding whether or not to introduce this book into my high school library's collection. It's graphic. It's jarring. It's a world they may not be ready for. But it's a world some of them already inhabit. It's a world they may want to avoid. It may teach about consent and encourage sexual assault survivors to come forward. It may discourage them also.
It's been a long time since I've wrestled so much with a book.
It's been a long time since a book has changed my perspective on the world.
If you have or someone you love has been sexually assaulted and need help, please visit RAINN for more information.
Mandy Peterson is the author of "Before I Shatter". She is also a mother, wife, librarian, book reviewer, and self-proclaimed chocolate connoisseur.