Sunday, May 10, 2015

Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer's new book is Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.

From his Q & A with Laura Miller at Salon:

You became interested in the problem of rape when you learned, to your surprise, that a longtime friend of yours was suffering terribly from the lingering trauma of having been raped in her youth.

Right. It was a shock because she was like a golden child. She’d gotten her foot in the door in a very difficult career and everything seemed great — up until the moment she landed in rehab. That was devastating in itself. But then to learn the reason she was there was that she had been raped twice, once when she was in her mid-teens and then a couple years later. The first time by someone a little older than her and the second time by someone who was significantly older and a family friend. Someone that I know.

This woman is like a daughter to me. I’ve known her since she was born, and I was so ashamed of myself for a) not being aware of her problems and b) for being so ignorant about the trauma of rape and how lasting and horrible it is. I’m an obsessive, and I like to learn stuff, so I just started reading books. Then I got on the Internet and quickly — it doesn’t take a genius to realize this is a widespread problem. It’s everywhere. I started just following different assault cases in different cities. I must have 34 files. One of them was Missoula. Then when Katie J.M. Baker wrote that Jezebel piece [“My Weekend in America’s So-Called ‘Rape Capital’”] …

A great piece by a wonderful young reporter.

It is great. One of the cases I was following was the Allison Huguet case [Huguet was sleeping on the sofa after a party at the home of Beau Donaldson, a longtime family friend. She woke to find Donaldson had removed her clothes and was raping her.] I saw there was going to be a sentencing hearing. I thought, I like Missoula, and it’s close. So I went. I walk in, and the first witness is Allison’s dad and it’s just riveting. You could tell how angry he was. He pointed at Donaldson and said, “That piece-of-shit rapist.” The courtroom was full of Beau’s supporters because he’s this popular football player and that was all pretty interesting.

And then Alison was called, four or five witnesses in, and she was so compelling. She’s not a large person. She’s kind of unassuming, The defense attorney was just this asshole, lecturing her, and she...[read on]
See Jon Krakauer's five best list of books about mortality and existential angst.

--Marshal Zeringue