Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Denial - Jessica Stern

Denial - Jessica Stern (2010)

Jessica Stern is an international expert on terrorism and academic who has written this book about he own ordeal.  As a fifteen year old, she was home alone with her fourteen year old sister, when an armed man broke into their house and raped both girls.

Thirty years later a local police officer reopens the case and Jessica starts her own investigation, eager to learn as much as she can about the rapist.  Finding that the rapist killed himself after some years in prison, she interviews his friends and family to find out what they know.

The astonishing part is that once the case is looked into, they are able to use his MO to link him to over forty similar rapes in a two year period.  It is an interesting read as the author explores her feelings about this ordeal, especially as at the time, the police did not believe her story of a stranger breaking in.  It seems that at the time in the seventies, rape was not taken seriously and the lack of computers allowed all these cases to be not connected until years later.

It's a pretty grim read,  and for all the analysing, I don't know if there are any answers that can solve the questions that are posed.  Because the rapist is dead, Jessica Stern never gets to ask him why, and even if he was, I think it was a random attack.  He just staked out homes he could access, watched girls and  took advantage of their vulnerability.


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