I finally picked up Missoula just as the #metoo revelations started to pick up steam. As someone who’s had a lifetime full of #metoo moments, I was both eager and hesitant to dive into this read about multiple rape accusations in the college town of Missoula, Montana (home of the University of Montana Grizzlies!), and the school, and/or police investigations, (or lack thereof) and trials, (or lack thereof) which resulted from those accusations.
This is not a good choice for the faint-hearted, or anyone who has been a victim of sexual violence. As I lay in bed reading at night, my poor husband would beg me to put the book down, read during the day, or just finish it as quickly as possible. I still occasionally think about the stories and become both enraged and frustrated at the misery brought upon the young women who’s experiences are reported within.
Jon Krakauer is an amazing writer, and, as always, he brings a non-biased accounting that nevertheless leaves no doubt as to the severe, life-altering consequences for the victims as they pursue their quests for justice. That law enforcement and college administrations continue to ignore victims’ rights won’t surprise anyone, and the myriad of cases examined really brings home how much young men will be protected by the powers that be, especially if they are athletes, or from an “important” family. The town of Missoula just basically stands in as a standard example of how little support victims of sexual violence receive from both the justice system and places of higher learning. Institutional betrayal becomes the central issue for these women as they try to navigate a legal gauntlet that ignores or punishes them at every turn.