Is Rape a Crime?: A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto

Longlist, National Book Awards 2020 for Nonfiction

ISBN 9781250255631
Flatiron Books / Macmillan Publishers
Michelle Bowdler

Michelle Bowdler is the Executive Director of Health and Wellness at Tufts University and, after graduating from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has worked on social justice issues related to rape for over a decade. Is Rape a Crime? is her first book. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

The crime of rape sizzles like a lightning strike. It pounces, flattens, destroys. A person stands whole, and in a moment of unexpected violence, that life, that body is gone.

Award-winning writer and public health executive Michelle Bowdler’s memoir indicts how sexual violence has been addressed for decades in our society, asking whether rape is a crime given that it is the least reported major felony, least successfully prosecuted, and fewer than 3% of reported rapes result in conviction. Cases are closed before they are investigated and DNA evidence sits for years untested and disregarded

Rape in this country is not treated as a crime of brutal violence but as a parlor game of he said / she said. It might be laughable if it didn’t work so much of the time.

Given all this, it seems fair to ask whether rape is actually a crime.

In 1984, the Boston Sexual Assault Unit was formed as a result of a series of break-ins and rapes that terrorized the city, of which Michelle’s own horrific rape was the last. Twenty years later, after a career of working with victims like herself, Michelle decides to find out what happened to her case and why she never heard from the police again after one brief interview.

Is Rape a Crime?
 is an expert blend of memoir and cultural investigation, and Michelle’s story is a rallying cry to reclaim our power and right our world.

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