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Crash Into Me: A Survivor's Search for Justice Hardcover – January 4, 2011
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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
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This book is not the self-aggrandizing memoir of a professional "victim." Rather, it describes the decency, integrity, and strength of those who ultimately came to Ms. Seccuro's aid--a by-the-book police force, a compassionate prosecutor, and an impartial and fair-minded judge.
What is most impressive about this book is Ms. Seccoro's honesty. The events of the horrific crime, the effect it had upon her and her family's life, the extent to which she was willing to--or could--reveal the events to her adoptive parents and her husband were sources of personal torment.
In the end justice was done, but it would not have been done but for Ms. Seccuro's courage. I salute her not only for the candor and honesty of her book, but also for her talent in telling her story. She is in, or quite near, the class of Truman Capote, John Berendt, and Janet Malcolm--all excellent and literary reporters in the genre known as "true crime."
The letter brought it all back. Seccuro bravely began an e-mail correspondence with her rapist to try to understand what happened, and why. As the correspondence continued, Seccuro found the courage to do what should have been done all those years earlier-prosecute him. She began appearing on national television and radio to talk about the case. Several crime dramas and a John Grisham novel, The Associate, were based on her experience. She had found a way to end a terrible story, but once judicial proceedings began, she found that what she thought occurred at that UV A frat party was only the tip of the iceberg. The investigation revealed at least two other assailants, numerous onlookers, and a wall of silence among the fraternity members that persisted two decades later.
Liz Seccuro's inspiring, unflinching memoir is about experiencing terrible trauma-and the power of justice to heal.
Never has a book inspired me more than Crash into Me, the story of Liz Seccuro who was brutally raped as a freshman at the University of Virginia at a frat house party. Her story, bravery, and strength throughout her life made me realize that if victims of rape can forgive but still fight and eventually find peace than so can anyone. I realized that my minor day to day annoyances are nothing compared to what Seccuro survived. This book mesmorized and moved me in ways that are hard to explain. Rape is such an ugly crime and to read about it in such detail can be sickening. But the cold hard truth is that this crime happens everyday and can happen to anyone. The victim is not at fault but is often blamed. Campus rapes run rampant in our country and not all are reported. If anything I hope that my own alma mater does it's best to help victims of this crime and that universities in this country are creating strong policies of no tolerance. I thank Seccuro for sharing her story with the reader and want her to know that her story and fight have touched me. I would recommend this book to anyone because I think that everyone should know the emotional toll that rape takes on a person and this book shares that in an emotional and inspiring way. 5 stars!
Most recent customer reviews
My heart cried for Liz.
I pray this book will help others of sexual assault to heal.