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.)
From the Publisher
“Riveting.” Caitlin Flanagan, Wall Street Journal
“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.” Booklist
“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.” Publishers Weekly
“[Crash Into Me] continually shifts between conjuring the ghosts of the past and combating the ghosts of the present... A thorough, intimate retelling of a tragic tale.” Kirkus Reviews
“Crash Into Me is a true story that reveals how the trials of rape victims continue far beyond the halls of justice. Every college, university, and high school should have this book on their library shelf.” Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, coauthor of Picking Cotton
“Seccuro's account of rape and its aftermath is a keen and personal portrayal of the long-lasting feelings of fear and isolation that many victims of sexual violence experience. Crash Into Me is a powerful account of how recovery from this crime is possible.” RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
“I congratulate Liz for stepping up to the plate, naming names, and doing what she knew was the right thing to do. The legacy of this book will hopefully be the mustering of courage in sexual assault victims who will see the justice sought here by a lady who would not back down.” Mickey Sherman, author of How Can You Defend Those People?
“Crash Into Me stands out because of its precise attention to every detail, the quality of the writing, which makes you feel like you are sitting down talking with your best friend, and its intensely compelling indictment of the college administration. It is not only a substantial contribution to the scholarship on rape trauma, it is a must-read for everyone who cares about other people.” John D. Foubert, Ph.D., author of The Men's and Women's Programs and national founder of One in Four
“Crash Into Me is a powerful and troubling story about forgiveness and justice. Depicting the barriers to reporting a campus rape in the 1980s, it also offers a rare public window on a secret process of injustice, many aspects of which persist to this day at campuses across the country.” S. Daniel Carter, Director of Public Policy, Security On Campus, Inc.
Library Journal - BookSmack!
Seccuro was raped at a University of Virginia fraternity party in 1984. In 2005, she received a written apology from her rapist and an invitation to communicate. This documents their correspondence and the surrounding emotional turmoil, as well as the ensuing investigation and legal events leading to a trial. Seccuro, now a victim's advocate, discovered that she'd had multiple attackers and spectators, and there was a fraternity-wide cover-up following the rape. Her story is by turns vivid, wrenching, and inspiring.What I'm Telling My Friends I'm not a fan of the phrase "I couldn't put this book down." But once I set eye to paper, I stopped reading Crash only to sleep and snatched it up as soon as I awoke. This is an astounding story of an incredibly brave and resilient woman; I am simply in awe. Julie Kane, "Memoir Short Takes", Booksmack! 10/21/10
Memoir of a rape victim's quest for justice 22 years after her attack.
On Sept. 8, 2005, Seccuro received a letter that forever altered her future. It was from William Beebe, a former fraternity member at the University of Virginia who had brutally raped the author and was never charged with the crime. His unexpected apology spurred Seccuro to find answers, and in the months that followed, she and Beebe exchanged several heated e-mails in which she attempted to make sense of the hazy night of her attack. As she soon discovered, Beebe's recollections of the rape contradicted her own. When she decided to press charges, the trial that followed revealed secrets buried far deeper than she had imagined. "I was a straight-A student, played the lead in many school plays, and was a member of the student council, swim team, math club, yearbook staff, and cheerleading squad," writes the author. Yet following that night in 1984, all of her credentials became irrelevant. She was transformed into a rape victim, and as she reached out to her university for help, she found few willing to listen. Seccuro's account of the 2006 trial serves as a final chance for redemption. While Beebe readily admitted his involvement in the rape, his own guilt was soon overshadowed by the revelation that he was the third of three men who raped Seccuro that night—a fact that shocked even the victim. The trial also took a toll on her marriage. The memoir continually shifts between conjuring the ghosts of the past and combating the ghosts of the present. The author's unrelenting search for the truth opens old wounds, forcing her to relive the most traumatic night of her life in order to seek long-overdue justice.
A thorough, intimate retelling of a tragic tale.