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

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She Said meets Lucky in Michelle Bowdler's provocative debut, telling the story of her rape and recovery while interrogating why one of society's most serious crimes goes largely univestigated. 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-w She Said meets Lucky in Michelle Bowdler's provocative debut, telling the story of her rape and recovery while interrogating why one of society's most serious crimes goes largely univestigated. 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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She Said meets Lucky in Michelle Bowdler's provocative debut, telling the story of her rape and recovery while interrogating why one of society's most serious crimes goes largely univestigated. 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-w She Said meets Lucky in Michelle Bowdler's provocative debut, telling the story of her rape and recovery while interrogating why one of society's most serious crimes goes largely univestigated. 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.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    National Book Award for Nonfiction Longlist 2020. Bowdler poses the provocative question in her moving memoir, “Is Rape a Crime?”. She posits that society and the justice system don’t take rape crimes seriously; there are few vigorous investigations, few prosecutions and even fewer convictions. Society tends to blame the victim—how was she dressed, was she drinking—and suggest that the victim may have fabricated the whole incident. [Studies have shown that only 2-8% of victims lie about their at National Book Award for Nonfiction Longlist 2020. Bowdler poses the provocative question in her moving memoir, “Is Rape a Crime?”. She posits that society and the justice system don’t take rape crimes seriously; there are few vigorous investigations, few prosecutions and even fewer convictions. Society tends to blame the victim—how was she dressed, was she drinking—and suggest that the victim may have fabricated the whole incident. [Studies have shown that only 2-8% of victims lie about their attack versus the commonly-held belief among law enforcement that it is closer to 45%.] Bowdler suffered a horrific attack in 1984 by two men during a break-in at the age of 24. The long-term psychological effects lasted for decades, affecting her career and personal relationships. She received a Masters in Public Health from Harvard in 1993, and in 2007 learned of the Boston Globe investigation that showed thousands of rape kits remained unexamined in the state crime lab. Bowdler became an advocate for women who had waited decades to learn who their attacker was, with the hope that it would lead to individual healing. The emotional journey that Bowdler undergoes is moving. For readers interested in this subject, I also recommend reading Missoula: Rape and the Justice System In a College Town by Jon Krakauer (2015). He includes the stories of more women and cites more statistics. Sadly, they support Bowdler’s premise.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Obviously this is a difficult book to read. So if you choose not to read it, here’s an important takeaway. When you hear or read about thousands of untested rape kits across the country, understand that this is not a “backlog”. It is not a lack of funding. It is not a staff shortage in crime labs. It is a deliberate setting aside of evidence for a felony that the criminal justice system has chosen not to investigate.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Molly Howes

    Is Rape a Crime? Michelle Bowdler’s new book is a deep and touching memoir, but also a rallying cry for our culture to change. The scope of her task is impressive, and her three distinct sections are a sound, effective structure for rooting her manifesto first in her particular story and second in the pervasive failure to treat rape as the violent felony that it is. She takes the reader through her brutal assault, interweaving the personal narrative with contextual information from news sources Is Rape a Crime? Michelle Bowdler’s new book is a deep and touching memoir, but also a rallying cry for our culture to change. The scope of her task is impressive, and her three distinct sections are a sound, effective structure for rooting her manifesto first in her particular story and second in the pervasive failure to treat rape as the violent felony that it is. She takes the reader through her brutal assault, interweaving the personal narrative with contextual information from news sources and facts about the prevalence of rape. Despite how horrifying the criminal actions were, the irresponsible indifference of the police feels somehow more heartbreaking. Meanwhile, Ms. Bowdler walks us through the longlasting effects of trauma, managing both to be an authoritative, informed reporter and to render a hauntingly wounded character. It’s a measure of the effectiveness of her writing that the pain of all these experiences is moving but not too much for the reader (even given some overlap in personal history for this reader). Her conclusion that the way the crime of rape is handled is wholly inadequate – including the widespread lack of criminal investigation, even to the point of ignoring thousands of collected rape kits – lands resoundingly. This book issues a compelling charge to change that.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mike Sinert

    Michelle Bowdler’s story is brave and heartbreaking, well-crafted and deeply compelling. Her work holds our our society accountable, and demands change. This book is truly what the title says it is: a manifesto. Moreover, the author’s words dance on the page when she wants them to, and tread lightly and carefully when needed. This is a book everyone must read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Paulson-Nguyen

    Bowdler's book is a series of concentric circles. The innermost, smallest circle is her. The next largest circle is comprised of the Boston police detectives who utterly failed her. The outer, largest circle is our society that ignores the felony sex crime of rape. The book opens when she's in her early 20s, as she dissociates in the immediate aftermath of an assault. Not long after her attack, she visits the police station to leave her fingerprints, told that doing so will help detectives elimi Bowdler's book is a series of concentric circles. The innermost, smallest circle is her. The next largest circle is comprised of the Boston police detectives who utterly failed her. The outer, largest circle is our society that ignores the felony sex crime of rape. The book opens when she's in her early 20s, as she dissociates in the immediate aftermath of an assault. Not long after her attack, she visits the police station to leave her fingerprints, told that doing so will help detectives eliminate them from the many left at the crime scene. The book ends years later—another circle completed—when she returns to the police, in numerous ways a different woman. I felt invested in what happened to Michelle, from the first page to the last. As a reader I watched how this "soul murder"—the innocence and lightness that dies after sexual assault at any age, Bowdler writes—impacted and interrupted the trajectory of the bright, confident young activist "a young girl who was brash and full of life," as she struggled to find meaningful work and build a life. "Fears are not always conquered," Bowdler reflects with honesty and clarity. "Maybe it's enough to stand side by side with them and look them straight in the face..." This book is proof she had the courage to do so. Eventually Bowdler asks herself: "What is the value of personal justice if not tied to systematic change?" She looks beyond her personal pain to become an advocate for change, and as a reader I was borne along by her fight. Although well aware of the sexism in society, this book opened my eyes to a fuller picture of the crime of rape, from the collection and storage of evidence to the prosecution (or lack thereof) of the felony. I learned right along with Bowdler, and shared her outrage at a rape kit, "shelved like a mediocre paperback." As for special victim units formed by police to investigate crimes of rape, she writes, "Perhaps it's a unique category for those who are special victims of special crimes...where evidence isn't tested, investigations are underfunded, reports are frequently deemed unfounded, and arrests and convictions almost nonexistent..." While Bowdler's personal story has many ups and downs, she has a poetic voice, and I'd be remiss if I didn't note this book's many moments of lyrical beauty, especially this one, as she contemplates her future. "...love and joy sat somewhere deep inside my body, waiting to be elevated into the light," she writes. "Somehow, I understood this was the foundation for my way forward." In finding her way forward, Bowdler also forges a path for others by not just sharing her personal story, but also through her thoughtful research and stirring call to action.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    One woman’s account of a brutal rape in the 1980s and its aftermath highlights the fact that while we all might agree that rape is a crime, our criminal justice system doesn’t treat it that way. Michelle is an incredible activist and advocate for survivors. (Disclaimer: I’m Michelle’s publicist!)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abby Blyler

    Having read an advanced copy of this memoir, I can say without a doubt that it will be one of the most important books of our time. An incredibly well written account of an amazing, resilient woman. 10/10 would recommend.

  8. 5 out of 5

    E. Johnson

    The harrowed undercurrent in Bowdler's voice makes us truly feel both the terrifying rape and the authorities' indifference she endured. Her honesty demands America get serious about rape justice. Now. The harrowed undercurrent in Bowdler's voice makes us truly feel both the terrifying rape and the authorities' indifference she endured. Her honesty demands America get serious about rape justice. Now.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leo Walsh

    IS RAPE A CRIME? by rape survivor and victim advocate Michelle Bowdler is everything that a good book of creative non-fiction should be. It's engaging, choc-full of personal details of her harrowing experience, and her decades-long struggle against the PTSD and feelings of helplessness her attackers imposed on her. The memoir portions tell a story of healing, though it's not a shallow Hollywood style healing. She's still damaged, knows she's damaged but is soldiering on in a way that's heroic. I IS RAPE A CRIME? by rape survivor and victim advocate Michelle Bowdler is everything that a good book of creative non-fiction should be. It's engaging, choc-full of personal details of her harrowing experience, and her decades-long struggle against the PTSD and feelings of helplessness her attackers imposed on her. The memoir portions tell a story of healing, though it's not a shallow Hollywood style healing. She's still damaged, knows she's damaged but is soldiering on in a way that's heroic. It also tells a story of how love heals, and how having deep family and social connections made recovering from the trauma easier. She was a relatively well-off, college-educated professional. But she knows this, She tells us this. And she contrasts her life with poor rape victims who often lack such support. More troubling to me was some facts Bowdler tosses in. Like how pervasive rape is, and how few go reported. And once reported, how often DAs write off rape as a "he said/ she said." Or, worse, prosecute the victim for false reporting of a crime. Say what? Even the much-vaunted "special victims units" many police departments have to pursue rape cases are ineffectual, it turns out, since they are understaffed. For instance, New York has twenty-times more police homicide detectives than there are in the Special Victims Unit, which investigates rape. However, there is AT LEAST four times the number of rapes per person in New York. Worse, when you take into account the fact that between 50 and 80% 0r rapes go unreported, that number could he as his as twenty-one times more rapes than murders. It's these things that lead Bowdler to her ironic title, "Is rape a crime?" Because the way the law treats could lead one to conclude it does not take serious... at all. If you are a woman, have daughters, a wife, nieces... or just love women and are concerned for them like this reviewer, read this. The book is quite thoughtful, powerful, and captivating. Five-stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Little

    WOW. This book is not asking, "is rape even a crime?", instead it asks "Is rape a crime? Because it sure doesn't seem like it based on the lack of investigations and convictions for how often it happens." "Victims shouldn't have to advocate that their cases be pursued; that's law enforcement's job. And the impact of their disregard is deeply felt." Not sure it's the right choice of words, but I feel privileged to be able to read this book. Victims of violent crimes may not be able to read it due t WOW. This book is not asking, "is rape even a crime?", instead it asks "Is rape a crime? Because it sure doesn't seem like it based on the lack of investigations and convictions for how often it happens." "Victims shouldn't have to advocate that their cases be pursued; that's law enforcement's job. And the impact of their disregard is deeply felt." Not sure it's the right choice of words, but I feel privileged to be able to read this book. Victims of violent crimes may not be able to read it due to the graphic nature at the beginning of the book (although one could certainly skip to Part II and start reading), but because I am not a victim (as Bowdler seems to prefer calling herself - as opposed to survivor) this book really helped to shed light on what it is like for victims, not just immediately after the crime is committed, but how it effects them 25, even 30 years, after. This was an incredible book that I believe all (who are not victims of violent crimes) should read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    based on investigation rates, no

  12. 5 out of 5

    Biblio

    After learning of the backlog of an estimated hundreds of thousand of rape kits untested for DNA languishing in storage facilities across the country, Michelle Bowdler starts to wonder if her own rape kit is one of them. How could this backlog have happened? How many rapists were able to continue inflicting violence because their victims' kits were never tested? We will never have definitive answers. However, for one question, would this kind of negligence have happened for any other violent cri After learning of the backlog of an estimated hundreds of thousand of rape kits untested for DNA languishing in storage facilities across the country, Michelle Bowdler starts to wonder if her own rape kit is one of them. How could this backlog have happened? How many rapists were able to continue inflicting violence because their victims' kits were never tested? We will never have definitive answers. However, for one question, would this kind of negligence have happened for any other violent crimes? The answer is an unambiguous, No. Throughout history rape has been trivialized and even celebrated. While modern-day laws recognize rape as a crime, what is that value of those laws if the ones enforcing them continue show little regard for the laws and the victims?Bowdler offers a long-overdue examination of the criminal justice system's, and society's, treatment of rape and it's victims. This book is comprised of her own personal experience of being failed by investigators and also extensive research into failures throughout the system and by society at large. This book is an eye-opening read for myself and, I am sure, many others. I highly recommend it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Gorman

    I read a pre-sale copy of this book. It is fantastic. Cannot wait for it to be shared with the world.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deedi Brown (DeediReads)

    All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/. TL;DR REVIEW: Is Rape a Crime? is a scorching, no-holds-barred work that’s part memoir, part investigation into a society that refuses to treat rape like the felony that it is. For you if: You are interested in joining the national conversation on how rape is handled, including the fight to get rape kits in backlog tested. FULL REVIEW: “If it were one city or one bad cop. If it were one DA who wanted a high win rate so declined to prosecute All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/. TL;DR REVIEW: Is Rape a Crime? is a scorching, no-holds-barred work that’s part memoir, part investigation into a society that refuses to treat rape like the felony that it is. For you if: You are interested in joining the national conversation on how rape is handled, including the fight to get rape kits in backlog tested. FULL REVIEW: “If it were one city or one bad cop. If it were one DA who wanted a high win rate so declined to prosecute rape cases. If it were one judge who voiced empathy for the perpetrator and culpability on the victim’s part. If it were one isolated police department where kits were lost, shelved, or thrown away. If it were one crime lab where felony evidence sat untested. If it were one politician who made a throwaway comment minimizing rape. If it were one dean at one college who thought that they didn’t need training to decide a sexual misconduct complaint because their untrained but clearly stellar judgment on these matters would surely suffice. “But it wasn’t just one.” Wow. Is Rape a Crime? is sure to grab your attention with its title alone. And that’s the point, but it doesn’t stop there. This book — as of now, longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award’s nonfiction category — will grab you by the shoulders, tell you like it is, call you out for refusing to make eye contact, and shake you hard until you hear what’s being said. Let me say clearly that if you have triggers around rape and sexual violence, tread carefully with this book (or skip it altogether). Bowdler was a victim of a violent rape and has battled severe PTSD, and her story is woven into the fabric of the whole narrative. But for those of us who can, I recommend reading it. It is uncomfortable, but worth it. As Bowdler tells the story of her trauma (which comes across clearly as something she’s had to do often throughout her life) and post-trauma, she pauses and dives deep into the moments that carry the most injustice: the way the police who responded to her call made her feel at fault; the not only lack of support but outright dismissal that she received from any form of law enforcement; the search for her missing rape kit years later. She shines a light on the way the justice system refuses to take rape seriously and the impact it has on victims. I value this book for Bowdler’s honesty and candor; her resolve to speak up on behalf of others who’ve suffered like her, even though it’s painful; her investigation into these societal failings; her moments of hope; her resolve to keep fighting; her call to arms. Thank you, Michelle, for all of this. TRIGGER WARNINGS: Violent rape (graphic); PTSD; Suicidal thoughts

  15. 5 out of 5

    vanessa

    Damning, particularly concerning the consistent structural failure of police departments when it comes to investigating rape. This part, from a 2018 report by NYC's Department of Investigation about chronic understaffing, took me out: there are only 67 investigators for more than 5,000 adult sex crime cases compared to about 100 homicide detectives handling less than 300 murders a year. In another life, I would have become exactly this kind of investigator. I've read one other book from the persp Damning, particularly concerning the consistent structural failure of police departments when it comes to investigating rape. This part, from a 2018 report by NYC's Department of Investigation about chronic understaffing, took me out: there are only 67 investigators for more than 5,000 adult sex crime cases compared to about 100 homicide detectives handling less than 300 murders a year. In another life, I would have become exactly this kind of investigator. I've read one other book from the perspective of an older woman (not teen or college-aged) reflecting on a rape that occurred in the 1980s (I Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her). Many parts of this are similar in that they reflect on what a crime like this means over decades. Especially when it happens to you before you have children, how you talk to your children, how you talk to your spouse, and how it affects your professional career. The other parts I found interesting include her talking to new police about her old case (so frustrating! the DNA evidence is nowhere to be found!) and about going to group therapy with other survivors of rape.

  16. 4 out of 5

    mjraves

    michelle bowdler is, with this book, speaking many truths that are very well-known but almost never acknowledged: that victims of sex crimes are treated worse by the justice system than victims of any other crime. that they are most often failed and often are traumatized additionally by the process of reporting what happened to them. that sex crimes are often referred to or addressed as the perpetrator making a stupid mistake, rather than them committing a horrific act that society will allow th michelle bowdler is, with this book, speaking many truths that are very well-known but almost never acknowledged: that victims of sex crimes are treated worse by the justice system than victims of any other crime. that they are most often failed and often are traumatized additionally by the process of reporting what happened to them. that sex crimes are often referred to or addressed as the perpetrator making a stupid mistake, rather than them committing a horrific act that society will allow them to move on from and forget about, while the victim has to carry this trauma with them for the rest of their lives. her writing is very thought-provoking and the reader is forced to ask themselves many questions and examine different things as they go along. as a survivor of sexual assault, i really appreciated how well michelle bowdler approached the subjects of victim-blaming and how badly victims are treated by our society and the justice system. this is a wonderful book for anyone to read regardless of what your opinion is and how much you know about this subject. i also felt really understood by this book and i did confront a lot of my past trauma while reading this. thank you to michelle bowdler for writing this book✨

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I confess: In the beginning, when I’d first been presented with a copy of this memoir, I was apprehensive about reading it. I suspect this was because the word “rape” was in the title. Or maybe it was because we were in the middle of a pandemic (still are) and everything just felt too heavy and dark. Still, in spite of my apprehensions, I decided to give the book a chance and began reading. To my surprise, I was immediately hooked. The author’s voice is warm, accessible and down-to-earth; as tho I confess: In the beginning, when I’d first been presented with a copy of this memoir, I was apprehensive about reading it. I suspect this was because the word “rape” was in the title. Or maybe it was because we were in the middle of a pandemic (still are) and everything just felt too heavy and dark. Still, in spite of my apprehensions, I decided to give the book a chance and began reading. To my surprise, I was immediately hooked. The author’s voice is warm, accessible and down-to-earth; as though a good friend is talking to you throughout. This and the inherent mysteries and suspense of Ms. Bowdler’s powerful tale kept me turning pages, as did the author’s talent for nailing the universal. An example: experiences shape and change you; they can’t be buried or forgotten, and their meaning is determined by what you do with them” (I underlined quite a few more throughout the book). Watching the author grow more empowered as the story goes on is heartening, and the educational information regarding how rape cases have been handled both historically up until the present is, in my opinion, eye-opening and worth the price of admission. If you haven't yet, buy this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    For me, reading this book was like talking to another survivor. I would like to say more about how much it has helped me but I will not speak from personal experience on this platform. I do however, highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced sexual assault. To quote from the book: If most of the people who either write or are charged with enforcing our laws equate rape with sex rather than violence and sex is considered a male need and not to be challenged, then rape and sexual assa For me, reading this book was like talking to another survivor. I would like to say more about how much it has helped me but I will not speak from personal experience on this platform. I do however, highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced sexual assault. To quote from the book: If most of the people who either write or are charged with enforcing our laws equate rape with sex rather than violence and sex is considered a male need and not to be challenged, then rape and sexual assault will continue being crimes for which there are few consequences. Thank you Michelle Bowdler. You have helped me make sense of a senseless assault.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

    The author was raped by a pair of strangers in Allston, MA in 1984, hers one of a long string of home invasions and rapes at that time, as it turns out. She was stunned to discover more than 20 years later that her rape kit was never processed, is presumed lost, and that. no investigation at all was ever done by the Boston Police. Her book declares that her case is far from unique, and she cites abysmal prosecution and conviction rates for such crimes. Her book also makes clear the life-long tra The author was raped by a pair of strangers in Allston, MA in 1984, hers one of a long string of home invasions and rapes at that time, as it turns out. She was stunned to discover more than 20 years later that her rape kit was never processed, is presumed lost, and that. no investigation at all was ever done by the Boston Police. Her book declares that her case is far from unique, and she cites abysmal prosecution and conviction rates for such crimes. Her book also makes clear the life-long trauma that impacts life for people like herself, and makes us wonder why authorities seem to take so little interest in such cases. This is a very sobering read. Kudos to the author for eventually finding a channel for her pain and outrage in a career devoted to social justice and public health.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Bowdler's story is similar to so many others', and in that sense this unfortunately blends with other memoirs/nonfiction I've read concerning rape. The strongest sections for me were where she emphasized that her case was never investigated - not even that they tried and failed, but they didn't try. She also talks about her trauma and how that affected her as a lesbian and a mother. Bowdler's story is similar to so many others', and in that sense this unfortunately blends with other memoirs/nonfiction I've read concerning rape. The strongest sections for me were where she emphasized that her case was never investigated - not even that they tried and failed, but they didn't try. She also talks about her trauma and how that affected her as a lesbian and a mother.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Daphyne

    I usually try to say something about every book I read and this one definitely deserves it, but it’s too hard. Others reviewers here have said it better.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    5 ⭐️ This book is heavy, but extremely important. Bowdler writes with a determined urgency detailing her rape and the decades that follows. She emphasizes that while the US has made some progress in their response to rape, the whole process has to be overhauled if there’s any chance for justice.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ben Rogers

    Tough subject, but good book. 3.0/5

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Googins

    Michelle's Bowdler book is unlike any other I have read. The pairing of her painstakingly rendered personal story with meticulous research and razor-sharp reasoning have the potential to effect desperately needed change. Please read this book. Michelle's Bowdler book is unlike any other I have read. The pairing of her painstakingly rendered personal story with meticulous research and razor-sharp reasoning have the potential to effect desperately needed change. Please read this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    "Change is not optional." This book took my breath away. Though the trauma in this book is rape, it is the subsequent disregard displayed by law enforcement and wider society that cements the harm done. A memoir, an investigation, and a manifesto perfectly describes my own experience of dealing with trauma caused by illness over time, and perfectly describes this book. "Change is not optional." This book took my breath away. Though the trauma in this book is rape, it is the subsequent disregard displayed by law enforcement and wider society that cements the harm done. A memoir, an investigation, and a manifesto perfectly describes my own experience of dealing with trauma caused by illness over time, and perfectly describes this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Stuart

    This book packs a real punch. It made me angry and sad. And admiring of the author's courage. When it comes to sex crimes, women are still second-class citizens. Bowdler has an amazing story to tell, and she smartly tells it through the prism of a memoir. This reader was with her all the way. This really is a tough book to put down. I can't recommend it too highly. This book packs a real punch. It made me angry and sad. And admiring of the author's courage. When it comes to sex crimes, women are still second-class citizens. Bowdler has an amazing story to tell, and she smartly tells it through the prism of a memoir. This reader was with her all the way. This really is a tough book to put down. I can't recommend it too highly.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tara Sullivan

    A fearless, well-crafted, important, powerhouse of a book. I couldn't put it down. A fearless, well-crafted, important, powerhouse of a book. I couldn't put it down.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Love

    Michelle Bowdler offers brilliant insight. She writes my heart and tears on every page. This five-star memoir, investigation, and manifesto has profound wisdom for any reader who has experienced sexual assault and their loved ones; any therapist who may want to better understand their clientele; any educator wanting to expand their own or their student’s horizon; any administrator who may be involved in adjudicating cases; any police, trainers, or investigators who want to make a difference; any Michelle Bowdler offers brilliant insight. She writes my heart and tears on every page. This five-star memoir, investigation, and manifesto has profound wisdom for any reader who has experienced sexual assault and their loved ones; any therapist who may want to better understand their clientele; any educator wanting to expand their own or their student’s horizon; any administrator who may be involved in adjudicating cases; any police, trainers, or investigators who want to make a difference; any activists who want to change our world; and every judge and every politician who writes or carries out law. After reading the first chapter I started underlining and highlighting important passages, and now the book appears to have more highlights then not. I survived rape and attempted murder at age eleven. I’ve spent over fifty years and multi hundreds of counseling sessions moving from victim, to survivor, to rising to higher levels of healing, raising millions to help survivors, volunteering, marching, and writing two books. In spite of it all, her memoir brought me to a new level of healing, and answered questions that lay dormant for over fifty years, questions I didn't know I had. I am reminded of Ms. Bowdler’s experience of awe when she met Anita Hill. I hope one day to have the privilege of meeting her and possibly collaborating, “raising our voices and demanding change.” Heartfelt thanks Ms. Bowdler, for your insight, inspiration, and courage.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary Haynes-Rodgers

    This is a must read book, as the year 2020 has shown us how far we still need to go on so many critical topics that impact our daily world. How we deal with rape, the victims and perpetrators is one of those topics. And this book articulates every aspect of what needs to change, it’s heartbreaking and creates sorrow and rage within my soul. Michelle also tells her own story with such courage and wisdom that while she conveys the horror and pain, she does it in a way that enables the reader to to This is a must read book, as the year 2020 has shown us how far we still need to go on so many critical topics that impact our daily world. How we deal with rape, the victims and perpetrators is one of those topics. And this book articulates every aspect of what needs to change, it’s heartbreaking and creates sorrow and rage within my soul. Michelle also tells her own story with such courage and wisdom that while she conveys the horror and pain, she does it in a way that enables the reader to tolerate reading it. I cannot imagine living through and healing from this experience as she has had to do in her life. I have told others I seldom read nonfiction and I seldom underline passages of a book, this book changed all that. I have many parts of her book under lined so I can go back and remember her words over and over again. I cannot recommend this book enough...everyone needs to read it we all need to get on board that things have to change now. “Victims shouldn’t have to advocate that their cases be pursued; that’s law enforcement’s job.” Excerpt From Is Rape a Crime? Michelle Bowdler https://books.apple.com/us/book/is-ra... This material may be protected by copyright.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Schoeff

    This book is powerful, beautifully written, and inspiring. Michelle Bowdler’s book provoked both anger and hope as I read. I was tempted to put the book down periodically but I was consistently rewarded when I dove back in. Her telling of her rape and the aftermath is followed by insightful analysis of the system that has historically made reporting and prosecution of rape discouraging and unlikely. But Bowdler also provides glimpses of the good and satisfying life she was able to achieve in spi This book is powerful, beautifully written, and inspiring. Michelle Bowdler’s book provoked both anger and hope as I read. I was tempted to put the book down periodically but I was consistently rewarded when I dove back in. Her telling of her rape and the aftermath is followed by insightful analysis of the system that has historically made reporting and prosecution of rape discouraging and unlikely. But Bowdler also provides glimpses of the good and satisfying life she was able to achieve in spite of her pain. Bowdler’s transformation from victim to activist over many years is a lesson in vulnerability and fortitude. I have recommended this book to many friends.

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