Sexual violence: our war against rape

Sexual violence: our war against rape

by Linda Fairstein

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Since 1976, as chief of New York City's Sex Crime Prosecution Unit, Fairstein has not only prosecuted rapists mercilessly but helped to ``remove the veil of secrecy'' from the crime of rape. This she defines as ``a crime of violence with sex as the weapon,'' now extended to include ``date and acquaintance rape.'' To encourage formerly stigmatized rape victims to come forward, the author focuses on episodes of a serial ``Midtown Rapist'' and the arduous, skillful tracking that led to his trial and long prison sentence. She notes an improved rate of convictions, due in part to a Special Victims squad, DNA identification and changes in laws governing rape cases that also reflect greater sensitivity toward victims. These include outlawing evidence based on a victim's past sexual activity, mandating secret grand jury hearings without the presence of the defendant and allowing a rape victim to testify without corroboration. The reader will find this an absorbing memoir despite its occasional grimness. Major ad/promo; first serial to Glamour and Cosmopolitan. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This recounting of Fairstein's 20 years as a sex crimes prosecutor in New York City's District Attorney's office stands as a companion work to Alice Vachss's Sex Crimes ( LJ 5/15/93). While Vachss describes the evolution of the laws and attitudes toward sex crimes and reflects on society's historically unyielding attitude toward victims, Fairstein is concerned primarily with the ways the courts and the criminal justice system view sex crimes today. Her book can be seen as a procedural text on how properly to investigate and prosecute a sex crime--how to sort out myths from reality; how to draw out the complete truth from victims; and how to ensure that sex criminals are properly tried. Recommended for libraries with in-depth collections on crime and the administration of justice. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/93.-- Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
The author, an assistant district attorney in New York County and the director of the sex crimes prosecution unit, describes some cases she's handled. For general readers. No bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Kirkus Reviews
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 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)

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Penguin Publishing Group
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7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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