SEXUAL VIOLENCE by Linda A. Fairstein

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Our War Against Rape
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Gripping depiction of the prosecutor's view of rape, by the current head of Manhattan's Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit. When Fairstein graduated from law school, her overwhelming ambition was to join the Manhattan D.A.'s office, considered the best in the country. Warned that then-D.A. Frank Hogan, 30 years on the job, had ``traditional'' views (there were seven women among the 160 lawyers working for him), Fairstein persisted and got an interview--during which Hogan told her, ``Its tawdry, very tawdry, Miss Fairstein...no place for a woman like you.'' Nevertheless, in 1972, Hogan hired Fairstein. Then, in 1976, a new D.A. was elected: Robert Morgenthau, whom the author cites frequently for his support of women--for greatly enlarging, and assigning top-notch lawyers to, the SCPU (first of its kind in the country); innovating special services to protect victims; and making all positions in his department open to women. Here, Fairstein explains, as she does to juries, the ``nature of rape--an act of violence, power, humiliation, and control rather than sexual coupling.'' She analyzes the antique laws--based on 17th-century English common law--that for so long tied the hands of the police and resulted in only one out of ten victims coming forward: Uniquely, in this most intimate of crimes, rape laws required corroboration of a witness; meanwhile, defense attorneys were permitted to drag the woman's entire sex life through open court. Fairstein's interjections about some of the fascinating and bizarre cases she's prosecuted-- including high-profile ones like the Robert Chambers and Central Park jogger case, as well as cases of date rape; serial rape; false reporting; and rape scams--keep her report moving forward briskly. A very strong and complete education in this singularly repugnant crime. (For another, not quite so compelling, memoir of prosecuting rape, see Alice Vachss's Sex Crimes, p. 585) (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen) (First serial to Glamour and Cosmopolitan)

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-06715-8
Page count: 324pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1993




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