￼The views in this blog are absolutely not designed to discount the severity and importance of the issue of acquaintance rape and sexual assault. This is an issue that must continue to be talked about and brought to light so victims can ultimately feel more comfortable coming forward to confront and convict the cowards that are guilty of such heinous crimes.
By now, most have heard about the new Jon Krakauer book: Missoula, which is a narrative about sexual assaults at the University of Montana and are used to depict the national epidemic of college rape. Although the book has not been released at the time of this blog, the available information about the book’s content is sufficient to warrant a counter position regarding the image of the Missoula community. The book may offer a short disclaimer of the true nature of the community of Missoula, but the entirety of the book will potentially be damaging to Missoula’s image and reputation. However, I submit that instead of a counter position, Missoulians leverage the true nature of the community in combination with supporting the books content ideally creating a winning scenario for all.
Anyone that has actually spent any amount of time in Missoula or the surrounding areas understands the friendly, happy, outgoing, supportive, adventurous, artistic (insert your adjective here) nature of the town’s inhabitants. Missoula is big enough to offer some great entertainment and experiences, yet small enough not to get lost in the masses. This is a city that has also continuously appeared in lists of best cities in which to live (Outside Magazine, Livability), to raise outdoor kids(Outside Magazine), and to retire(Livability) in the U.S. for reasons relating to diversity and openness of the community.
This is just a glimpse of what Missoula has to offer. But deeper than that, this is a town where just last winter, I witnessed 5 cars sequentially pull over to help another who got stuck in the snow. Or in 2014 when the Mount Jumbo avalanche hit the lower Rattlesnake area, more than 50 Missoulians showed up just to help search for salvageable belongings for the affected families. These are just two, very small, everyday examples highlighting the true spirit of the Missoula community I have come to love. But these examples will not appear in the search results for those Googling information about Missoula, but Jon Krakauer’s Missoula, will.
In a perfect world, Missoulians and beyond can help Jon Krakauer expose the injustices of sexual assault while simultaneously proclaiming the positive nature and experiences Missoula has to offer. Unfortunately, Missoula will ultimately be reflected in the negative nature the content of Jon Krakauer’s book narrates. But that is not my Missoula. It is up to us to help reveal and share stories highlighting what makes this beautiful town, Missoula, in an effort to leverage the true nature of the community. We need to embrace this exposure as a challenge to further improve the Missoula community and become an example for all other communities. So share a memory or picture (something as simple as seeing cars pull over and helping someone stuck in the snow) that makes it so easy to LOVE Missoula. Share your #MyMissoula moment, story, and/or picture on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. using the hashtag #MyMissoula to get this trending to show the world what the true Missoula spirit looks like.