A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America by T. Christian Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Truly a phenomenal book. Although true crime is a genre I’m very interested in it is also one that can easily become sensationalized such that the truth is drowned beneath the “special effects” of the crime fixated upon the horror and helplessness. The premise of A False Report is to bring the reader face to face with the biggest concern about rape reports–that someone will be falsely accused. It is a concern that reflects the nature of taking cases to court which is that juries must convict beyond reasonable doubt. It is a concern that reflects the nature of interpersonal relationships often being messy, contentious and the fact that we as people often find ourselves skeptical of the experiences of others.
A False Report shines the light fully on this argument by following several rape stories as they eventually dovetail neatly together to reveal the reality beyond our fears and expectations. I confess that I appreciated the author’s choice of subject as it illustrates a lot of the inherent flaws in the system and in the public’s treatment of rape as a crime as well as rape as a subject for intrigue, paranoia and ultimately something that we find difficult to address in meaningful ways.
The handling of the cases was more focused on the victims, the investigators and the outcomes for the victims. The perpetrator is discussed at sufficient length. The author tries to resist the trope of going too in depth with the perpetrator and making the reader overly sympathetic. The refocusing on the crimes, the victims and the investigators assists in providing a guide for future dialogue on rape and what causes it.
The tone of A False Report is appropriate for the time it will be released in. It attempts to bring us closer to finding a way to address the truly complicated nature of rape and attempts to untangle the threads so that we can work toward addressing each in a fitting way. The content of the book may not be appropriate for everyone, particularly those who are sensitive to the topic, however, it isn’t sensationalized either. I appreciated this because in doing so it is possible to focus on the actual issues.
This is a must read book for everyone. But specifically right now it is such an important book in moving the dialogue forward toward the goal of:
1. Listening to the stories of victims
2. Stopping the activities of current offenders
3. Implementing resources to discourage future offenders
4. Developing resources for potential offenders before they victimize and so that they cease to have the desire to do so
Great review! I loved this one too, such an important story they’re telling.