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 three percent of rapists ever spend a day in jail. 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, Michelle's story is a rallying cry to reclaim our power and right our world.
Time Magazine Best Books of the Year - 2020
A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books
“Urgent...an indictment of one of the most glaring contradictions of the US criminal justice system.” (Boston Globe)
"Intimate, powerful.... An urgent, necessary, stark exploration of 'one of the most horrific violations that can happen to a human being.'" (Kirkus)
"Provocative.... Exhaustive research adds veracity to Bowdler’s powerful account of rape’s devastating aftermath. This is a brilliant study of how society views rape." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)