Thursday, September 13, 2018

A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America

A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America  is a well researched and annotated account of the multiple failure of the criminal justice system in the USA painted across the larger context of toxic masculinity, sexism and racism.  Written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, it's 304 pages and available in hardbound, paperback, ebook, and audio versions.  Published by Crown Publishing, it was released 6th Feb, 2018.

Both T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong are award winning journalists and experienced authors and educators and they bring meticulous research and clarity in writing to bear.  Make no mistake, this book is a difficult read. The subject matter is uncomfortable and I found myself putting the book down fairly often because I was angered, disgusted, and enraged in about equal measure. 

I never considered myself a particularly naive person.  I work in the healthcare sector, and even though I don't have direct patient contact, I'm not shielded from the reality of the horrific ways humans can inflict suffering on one another.  This book goes beyond the pathology and calculated planned horror of a serial rapist to an examination of the fallout from the utter failure of the safety net which is supposed to protect victims in the aftermath of a crime.

Pretty much everything about this book upset me.  I am appalled that the machinery of investigation and punishment was brought to bear on the victims of a serial rapist.  I almost can't imagine anything worse than not being believed and trusted by those around me.  When that callous disregard is turned on people without the same safety net and support, it is really awful.

This book has stark and horrifying relevance to today's headlines.  When there's blowback from the #MeToo movement and people deride others for the strength to speak out, it points to a much larger underlying problem. 

I sometimes despair for humanity.  When politicians can joke about sexual assault, and they do every day, and whine about the unfairness of a serial assaulter suffering professional repercussions when he's exposed for the crimes he perpetrated on his former wives, it's not ok.  

This book made me angry. It's also an important book.  I sincerely hope that we can create a dialogue about rape which leads to real change in the process.

Four stars, very well written and VERY uncomfortable.  Obvious trigger warnings apply.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.  

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