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Book 3: “Crash Into Me: A Survivor’s Search For Justice” by Liz Seccuro

Welcome to my new series: 52 Books in 52 Weeks [1]!  It’s my committment in 2012 to read a book each week and then share with you about it [1].

I want to warn you before you continue reading- this book was not a nice light read like the previous two books I have posted.  Usually I try to keep things light and easy on my site but this is not a light and easy read.

The book I read this week is “Crash Into Me: A Survivor’s Search For Justice [2]” by Liz Seccuro.  It’s a short book- about 250 pages- and once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down.  I finished up about 2 a.m. and it has been on my mind ever since.

Here is my plot synopsis of the book: Liz Seccuro was a first year student at the University of Virginia (UVA) coming from a strong Catholic background in New York State.  A few weeks after school began a friend asked her to go to a frat party as his date since he needed a token female to go with him.  At this party she was given a spiked drink, forced into a bedroom upstairs and raped by a man named William.  After waking up the next morning she went to both the clinic on campus and talked to security/administration about the incident and neither did anything (which made me angry even as I was reading the book).  She documents well the process of trying to get anyone in authority to pay attention to her- all of which was met with more concern about the school’s reputation then her security.  Meanwhile William dropped out of school a few weeks after the incident.  She manages to complete her degree and tries to put the past behind her.

Time passes and she is now in a happy marriage with a beautiful two year old baby girl.  In the mail comes a letter for William apologizing for what happened as he is now going through AA and working on Steps 8 and 9 of their 12 step program.  This drudges up all of the old feelings of insecurity and violation.  As they continue to correspond she realizes that William has no concept of what he actually did that evening.  Liz begins doing research she discovers numerous instances of rape on the UVA campus where nothing was ever done by the school.  She reaches out to the authorities in that area who inform her that there is no statute of limitations on rape in Virginia so she files charges against William.  The remainder of the book is the trial and the results that come from it.

This book really made my mind churn when I read it.  As she reaches out for help in her college community and is continually denied and lied to by the administration I wanted to reach into the pages and strangle someone.  She is so honest about the process that a victim goes through after dealing with something traumatic and the benefits of being surrounded by supportive friends and family.  She does an excellent job of not bashing the university itself and does more praising of the people who helped rather than complaining about those who didn’t.  It is easy to tell she was an English major as the book is an easy read and she draws you right into both the horrible and uplifting parts of the story.

I am going to warn you: the book goes through sections of the trial transcript so it’s not a book you sit back and mindlessly read.  It will affect you in some way when you read it- whether you cry or get angry.  It was a very good read and I would recommend it to those of you who enjoy this type of non-fiction.