Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. 

Missoula? Huh? Oh, right, that's the home town (pop. 66,000) of the University of Montana (pop. 11,000 full-time undergrads). Most people aren't exactly sure where Missoula actually is–but journalist Jon Krakauer and his publisher, Doubleday, seem so convinced that "college" and "rape culture" are such hot-ticket items (thanks to Rolling Stone) that Doubleday has reportedlyrushed the above new book of Krakauer's into print to the tune of 500,000 copies.

That's almost exactly half the population of Montana itself.

To work "college" and "rape culture" into one book, Krakauer homes in what was apparently a hot news story (for Montana): the 2012 rape trial of U. of Montana star quarterback Jordan Johnson, accused of forcing himself on a female fellow student after a make-out sessions. The New York Times reported:

The woman claimed that after they kissed and took their shirts off, she said no to sex. Then, she said, the athlete took off her leggings and underwear, pinned her to the bed and forced her to have sex. “He just changed — changed into a totally different person,” she said on the stand.

The prosecution alleged that she suffered injuries to her head, clavicle, chest and genitals, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, which the defense refuted. The woman said she did not scream to friends in the house for help, because she was “terrified and in shock.”

Trouble was, according to the NYT,  the defense apparently refuted those claims of injury so well that "[a]fter three weeks of testimony, the seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated for two and a half hours and found Johnson not guilty."

That didn't take long!

Krakauer devotes much of the rest of the book to another rape case involving another U. of Montana football player. This guy was actually convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison. Missoula is supposed to show how the justice system in the town didn't work–but it seemed to work here.

That's about it for the U. of Montana. So Krakauer pads the book with the results of his examination of 230 rape accusations over four years, mostly off-campus, in the town of Missoula itself. Most of them were never prosecuted. Like most rape-culture activists, Krakauer believes that all 230 of those "rapes" actually occurred, but, as he told NPR on April 29, "the prosecutions were bungled."L

The upshot was most rapists walked away without any punishment, any accountability, which is in fact — the best statistics show that about 97 percent of rapes, you know, the rapist walks away, is never held accountable. That is, to me, really disturbing.

Even more disturbing is Krakauer's statement that even if all 230 rapes were actually real, Missoula's rape rate is actually "a little less than the national average."

You might be asking yourself at this point why Krakauer focused on Missoula in the first place.

Johnson's acquittal seems to be gnawing on Krakauer. He has shifted his attention back to the U. of Montana, with which he is in a protracted dispute over why Johnson wasn't at least expelled after a university adjudication of the charges. Krakauer has spent several years in court trying to get hold of confidential university records of the proceeding, which had apparently found Johnson reponsible for sexual assault of the woman involved but didn't throw him out of school. Krakauer claims the university violated the U.S. Education Department's insistence that college tribunals trying such cases apply a mild "preponderance of the evidence" standard in meting out punishment to Johnson.

Krakauer told the Chronicle of Higher Education on April 22:

I learned a bunch of discouraging things. I learned how universities seem so quick to protect their brand — I mean, so willing to abandon the welfare of their students to protect their brand.

Let's hope that 500,000 readers are as obsessed with "college rape culture" way up in the Rocky Mountains as Krakauer is. Otherwise, good luck, Doubleday!