From Publishers Weekly
The rape by William Beebe of University of Virginia freshman Seccuro at a 1984 fraternity party was only the beginning of a terrible ordeal. First, the local hospital didn't process rape kits and told her to drive to D.C. for help. Then, university officials insisted campus, rather than Richmond, police handle the crime and dismissed her with condescension. Twenty-one years later, Seccuro receives a letter from her rapist asking for forgiveness. Even though it brings on panic attacks, she writes back and presses charges. The legal battle and media attention only give Seccuro more resolve that her actions, however belated, are right, for herself and the victims of countless rapes that are never prosecuted, thus never giving them a chance for justice. The book includes a transcript of the preliminary hearing, with its shocking revelation of what Seccuro endured that night. This brave account reveals an alarming array of mishandling, poor judgment, and obfuscation or outright lies from university officials and from students at the party, and shines light on a systemic lack of concern and care given to rape victims. (Jan.)
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Embarking on a family vacation, Seccuro received a letter that shattered her life for the second time. It was a letter of atonement from the man who raped her when she was a college freshman at the University of Virginia. She’d been drugged and remembered only fragments of what happened to her, but the letter brought back panic attacks and depression as she struggled to recall the violent assault and with how she should react to her attacker’s request. Seccuro intersperses her actions after receiving the letter with flashbacks to her freshman year in 1984, when she got little assistance from the university and mixed reactions from friends and family. Should she dredge it all up to bring her attacker to justice? What would be the cost to her personally and to her husband and young daughter? She’d been working as a counselor for rape victims. What did she owe them? Seccuro recalls a harrowing journey through memory and the realities of the legal process as she decided to stand up for herself and all rape victims even as others criticized her for not simply accepting the plea for forgiveness. --Vanessa Bush