April 19, 2015
In 2009, President Obama officially designated April Sexual Assault Awareness Month. With a string of high profile public exposures during his administration -- from the Penn State child abuse scandal and allegations against Bill Cosby to the crimes of Darren Sharper, the 'Rolling Stone' UVA controversy, and several other cases on American college campuses -- the issue has increasingly been given renewed attention with attempts at both understanding and prevention.
I don't mean to single out Missoula: Its rape rate is a little less than the national average; I think its problems with dealing with rape are pretty depressingly typical.
But in any case, it turns out [that in] Missoula, over the course of the four years I looked at, there were 230 rapes in town, most of which either weren't prosecuted or the prosecutions were bungled.
Krakauer's concentration on rapes at college campuses and how their investigations proceed engages the importance of current debates about how accountability at the community level influences the likelihood that victims will come forward with reports. In a changing social and cultural context, where new forms of communication shape and reflect new attitudes, lessons from cases that dominate the spotlight have been in need of contrast with hazards found in more common experience.