Monday, January 25, 2016

Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer is the author of Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.

From his Q & A with Amanda Marcotte at Salon:

Your book was hard to read, but one part that gave me a lot of hope was the Allison Huguet story, which you build the book around. In your recounting of it, Allison viewed what happened to her as rape from the minute that it happened. Are young women just smarter about these things?

I think they’re getting smarter. When you start looking at rape cases, women never say, “I was raped,” like Alison. They say, “Oh my God, I’ve been raped? Was that rape?” Their first reaction is doubt, and I don’t know how you change that. Because that’s not so much cultural, as psychological, that’s brain chemistry. You cannot face, that, “Oh my God, I was just raped!” So you question it.

And of course that works against a victim. As soon as she goes to law enforcement or whoever investigated it, they say, “Wait a minute, you’re not even sure you were raped? How are we going to get a conviction?” When in fact the psychology shows that that’s the most common way women do react.

I don’t know when things started to change. It was maybe starting when I was in college in the ’70s, but it’s definitely in the last five or 10 years. More and more women are saying, “Fuck it, I have nothing to be ashamed about! The fucker who raped me is the guy who should be ashamed. I’m going to use my name, I’m going to come forward.”

With my book, initially I assumed all the women would want to have pseudonyms. In every case, including Alison’s, I tried to talk them out of using their real names, and in every case for each of the women I interviewed, they all came to me and said, “No, I want you to use my real name.” I’m proud of them for doing that, but I didn’t want that responsibility. So I’m like “no,” and they’re like “yes.” And that’s a sign that stuff is changing, and that’s what it takes.

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--Marshal Zeringue