Crash Into Me: A Survivor's Search for Justice

Crash Into Me: A Survivor's Search for Justice


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In September 2005, Liz Seccuro's world turned upside down when she received an apology letter from the man who had raped her twenty-two years earlier. The rape, which occurred when she was a seventeen-year-old freshman at the University of Virginia, was reported to the campus police, but their inquiry led nowhere. The man accused of raping her left the university soon after, and Seccuro tried to put the incident behind her, starting a business and a family, but like all survivors of trauma, the memory was never far from the surface.

The letter brought it all back. Seccuro bravely began an e-mail correspondence with her rapist to try to understand what happened, and why. As the correspondence continued, Seccuro found the courage to do what should have been done all those years earlier-prosecute him. She began appearing on national television and radio to talk about the case. Several crime dramas and a John Grisham novel, The Associate, were based on her experience. She had found a way to end a terrible story, but once judicial proceedings began, she found that what she thought occurred at that UV A frat party was only the tip of the iceberg. The investigation revealed at least two other assailants, numerous onlookers, and a wall of silence among the fraternity members that persisted two decades later.

Liz Seccuro's inspiring, unflinching memoir is about experiencing terrible trauma-and the power of justice to heal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596915855
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 01/04/2011
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Liz Seccuro is an event planner and a victim's rights activist. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two children.

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Crash Into Me: A Survivor's Search for Justice 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Lynn_C_Tolson More than 1 year ago
Liz Seccuro spent years building her world anew after it had been destroyed by rape when she was seventeen. The strong foundation of her carefully structured life was weakened when the rapist, William Beebe, dared to contact her twenty-two years after the assault. Ms. Seccuro wrote Crash Into Me as a concise narrative that documents the complex true story of surviving after rape, and seeking the justice victims deserve. Ms. Seccuro conveys how she feels as she engages the rapist in email correspondence. The exchanges prompt her to take on the seemingly insurmountable task of pressing charges against the man who had assaulted her when they were at the University of Virginia in 1984. The reader sees the wide net of protection that is cast upon institutions that value the status-quo. It is disturbing to hear how society defends the perpetrator while blaming the victim. It is maddening to read that: "in a rape case, it is never, ever the alleged rapist on trial, whether in the courtroom or in the media. The victim is on trial. Always." (p. 114) No wonder victims do not dare report! Ms. Seccuro candidly reveals the details of her experience, and the story yields even more brutality and betrayal. She balances her emotional content with the inclusion of court documents (which left me shaking my head in disbelief at the absurdity of the questions posed by the defendant's attorney to the witness, the victim herself). She deepens the readers empathy with every impossible decision she must make. How hard do rape victims have to work to empower themselves as individuals and in society? Seccuro's singular book speaks volumes about the priggish institutional systems and the precision in which they cooperate to cover-up crime. How can a medical facility turn away a rape victim? (This was the case for seventeen year old Liz). Crash Into Me is a fast-paced, riveting read, written with clarity and courage. Bravo to Liz Seccuro! Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson
JYKWA More than 1 year ago
Having been educated outside of the U.S., my impressions of fraternities and sororities came from books and news articles, and they haven't been positive. Stories like these do not help to redeem them in my eyes. I agree that Liz Seccuro is a terrific writer who makes the reader empathetic, not just sympathetic, to her trauma and the enormous courage she displayed to confront and overcome it. Some reviewers said that justice has been served, but I don't know. I got the impression that her two other attackers got away scot-free and probably are now smirking in the shadows, confident in the silence of the university and their fraternity brothers. We need to teach these young people the real definition of honor. Staying silent and/or hiding horrible crimes such as rape is NOT honor. It's called abetting crime. And very disappointing about the University of Virginia administration who only seemed to focus on perpetrator protection at the cost of the victims' mental and physical well-being. I wish we can say that it was in the 1980s and things have improved at the school, but, from the slew of recent articles, it doesn't seem to be the case.
bffs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was very interesting. It's a quick read and the author somehow manages to express her victimization, without overplaying the role of victim. The resulting story allows the reader a glimpse into Seccuro's brave decision to come forward several years after the tragedy without questionning her motives or being bogged down by the emotional turmoil the rape has caused. Not to say that isn't important, but I think the book is much better for it. I would recommend this book to every teenage girl who is headed off to college. In the blink of an eye your life can change, by no fault of your own, and Seccuro's book captures this well.
jcelrod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read an excerpt of Liz Seccuro's book in a magazine and was intrigued by her story. This memoir tells the story of a woman who decided, after twenty years, to bring the man who raped her to justice. Her bravery is commendable, especially given the national media circus that she walked into. Seccuro's book is incredibly compelling and difficult to put down - I read it from cover to cover in one day. I hope that her story gives courage to other rape victims and serves as a warning to those who hurt others.
justablondemoment on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books that I found myself glued to till I had finished it. As I have a daughter who is in her freshman year at college it was a little scary to read, but I'm really glad I did. I gave this to her to read as well and encourage parents with daughters either getting ready to go to college or already there to read this ...then pass it on and have them read it. Well written and eye-opening.
mountie9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Good Stuff * Brutally honest and powerful * Books like this one help give power back to those victims that have had their power forcefully taken from them * Refreshing to hear of helpful police officers dealing with rape victims/survivors * Admire the authors strength of character * Absolutely disgusted by the lack of support from the University and its archaic need to protect its reputation (Makes me wonder what Humber & Guelph-Humber would do in a similar situation) * Also truly disgusted by the legal system (Not just U.S. - Canada is no better) that treats rapists so leniently. In my opinion rapists are rapid dogs and should be put down. They are sick and cannot be cured -- sorry if that is brutal, but it is something I truly believe * See 1st quote - helped me understand the abandonment of friends/family when they learned about Jake's disability and my postpartum depression - doesn't make it hurt less, but it helped me to understand and forgive * I think this will inspire many more women to speak out about their own rapes and to also inspire more women to go into the law and/or education to help bring change to these archaic institutions * Actually has some of the court transcripts in it -- trust me you will shake your head at the absurdity of it allThe Not so Good Stuff * I am now truly terrified of sending my kids to University * It really is disturbing to see how society spends so much time/money on defending the rapist and blaming the victim -- really what the hell has the length of a skirt have to do with rape * I won't lie, its a tough book to read at times, often felt sick to my stomach, sad and angryFavorite Quotes/Passages"Perhaps some people feel that tragedy is contagious and to see it happen to a friend is to acknowledge the possibility of its entering one's own life. Regardless, it hurt deeply to lose friends I had considered a part of my support system.""I think in recovery they don't really teach you about how your admission now causes turbulence in the victim/survivor's life. From my discussions with people in the program, I hear taht addicts on your "step" just want forgiveness, neatly tied up in a bow.""Does it really give you a 'story' following a rape victim home? With her child in the car? Have some grace and class and get off my property."What I Learned * How horribly frequent rape still occurs at Universities and how it is still suppressed by these Universities in order to protect their reputations * That many of these institutions are more willing to cite a student for underage alcohol than rapeWho should/shouldn't read * Everybody! It does have brutal descriptions of the rape, so I would suggest not for younger than 14 - but if you do have a younger child I suggest talking over with them about the book.5 Dewey'sI won this from GoodReads and wasn't required to review it
JGoto on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Author Liz Seccuro was brutally raped at a party at a frat house when she was a freshman in college in 1984. The local hospital refused to administer a rape test and the university did all in its power to hush the incident up. Although she identified her attacker, nobody was ever charged or prosecuted for the crime. Twenty years later, Securro receives a letter in the mail from the rapist. He is on step 9 of an AA program - making amends and apologizing. The letter brings back all of the horror of the attack, and she decides to belatedly press charges, since there is no statute of limitations for rape in Virginia, where the attack took place.I found the first part of the book, in which Seccuro describes her suburban life and way the sudden contact with her attacker completely disrupts her life, to be very slow moving and slightly boring. The story picks up, however, when Seccuro gives details of the rape and her actions immediately following. She goes on to tell of the trial and her attempts to finally find justice in a system which often blames the victim more than the perpetrator. It was an interesting read - I finished the book in one day. It was disheartening to see, however, how "justice" is not always just.
MGJackson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Liz Seccuro was a 17-year-old freshman in college when she was drugged and raped at a fraternity rush party. Many years later, her rapist reached out to her to apologize. This is her personal account of her ordeal - mainly of her dealings with the justice system. We get a glimpse of the horrors of rape and its aftermath - Ms Seccuro was still dealing with panic attacks years later. But the real horrors in this tale are of her search for some justice. The dean and others in charge at the college wanted to sweep it under the rug and managed to do just that. When she decided to bring charges against the man who raped her, she was criticized in the press because, after all, he was only trying to apologize and in the years since the rape, he had become a model citizen. Others who were involved in the crime got off without any charges. I have had friends who were raped as teenagers (and virgins) and they were damaged for the rest of their lives. Ms Seccuro was very courageous to be willing to testify and face the criticism that, unfortunately, most rape victims face. Hats off to her for not only surviving, but overcoming her fears.
KatKealy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think the story of how she sought justice could have been so interesting and since she's written other books I really expected this to be interesting, but if I didn't read really quickly I wouldn't have bothered finishing it.
staffoa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book, overall, while trying not to let my opinion get in the way of the story. That is difficult when it is based on a true story and it's the author's experience of a life-changing event--being raped while a student at UVA. No one, including the author/victim, is sure exactly what happened during this horrible event. Though mine will not be popular opinion, I feel the judicial system handled the case well, even though the university, especially the Dean, failed the victim horribly. It's an issue (rape) that remains prominent in our Universities today--and this is a story that should be heard not only by the women about to enter University, but the men as well!
loraineo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Liz Seccuro was raped at a fraternity party when she was 17 years old. The University mishandled/covered up her report and the accused was not charged with any crime. 20 years later she recieves a letter of apology from her rapist. Ms. Seccuro writes in an easy to read format , detailing her choice to press charges against this man. Young people, male and female could benefit from reading her story. Hopefully rape survivor advocates such as Ms. Seccuro have and will continue to change the view point/understanding of this type of violent crime.
Angelic55blonde on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book! I just received it tonight and I have already finished it. From the very first page I was drawn into Liz's story and I couldn't put the book down until I finished it. This is a memoir about a rape that occurred in 1984. She goes into graphic detail throughout the book, which drives the whole story home for the reader. She uses court documents as well scattered throughout the second half of the book which I loved because it brought reality to the book.I honestly could not put this book down. I haven't found a book that has grabbed me from page one in awhile now. Liz is a great writer who puts her emotions into what she is writing. The reader feels her emotions and I felt myself getting angry and sad throughout the book.I think this book is a must read. It brings the topic of rape, especially on college campuses, to the forefront. It shows the severe damage rape can do to a person's life, even years after it has occurred. Liz has a great deal of strength not only to bring her attacker to justice so many years laters but to also share her story with the world through this book.I highly recommend this book to everyone. From page one you will not be able to put it down. I think this is a great book for survivors of rape, friends and family of rape survivors, and even people who had never known anyone who has been assulted.
bobbieharv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very well-written book that was hard to put down, especially amazing given the subject: Seccuro's brutal rape. It made me ask myself so many questions, questions I'm still turning over in my mind.Would I have written back, if the guy who raped me after I was drugged at a fraternity party was doing AA Step 9 and wrote to me? Would I have brought criminal charges against him? Could I have described the physical details of the rape in court? Would I have hired an investigator, only to learn I was gang-raped? And, finally, would I have been able to write a book about all this, including several graphic descriptions of what happened to me?I think the answer is no. I lack Liz Seccuro's courage. I hope the whole process was as healing for her as her book, as well as her work as a victims' rights activist, must be for others.
dablackwood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book very quickly. The author draws you into her horrifying story and you are immediately hooked. Ms. Seccuro was raped at a fraternity house at UVA in the eighties. Although she reported it and tried to be heard as a victim, she was unsuccessful until twenty years after the rape when she received an email from the man responsible. He was asking for forgiveness as part of his twelve-step recovery. She was confronted again, then, with the horror of the rape and had to decide whether or not to pursue justice.I admire the writer. She clearly is a strong woman who has chosen to be successful and to rise above the horror.I guess the reason I didn't really think this book was fabulous is that I never felt a connection with the writer. She spoke of being flattened by grief or immobilized by the pain of the event, but somehow I didn't feel that grief or pain. Understand. I am completely in agreement with what she did. I know this must have been difficult to write and her experience was awful. But there is a lack of emotion or something that connects the reader to her story.I really do get, however, that she was willing to forgive him but that she wanted him to have a consequence for this act. I see this often with people - they think by saying "I'm sorry," that they have atoned. I don't think that is true. There need to be consequences and atonement and possibly the victim will forgive.
maryintexas39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Crash Into Me by Liz Seccuro is enthralling. It's a quick read, but heartbreaking and inspiring. In her freshman year in college, her first time to be away from home, she is slipped a "mickey" and brutalized at a frat rush party. The incident is dismissed by the college and Liz finishes college and goes on with her life. Many years later she is contacted by her rapist. What follows is the story of bringing her attacker(s) to justice. It's truly heartbreaking to discover that our justice system still treats rape victims with little sympathy. I also found Liz's information on her panic attacks stemming from traumatic stress syndrome very interesting, as I suffer from panic attacks as well.This was an eye-opening read. Thanks again Library Thing for your Early Reviewers program.
readaholic12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Crash Into Me, Liz Seccuro has written a harrowing and heartbreaking memoir of her rape, and her prosecution of her rapist twenty years later. I found the University's and the Emergency Room's response to her assualt infuriating and inexcusable. For her sense of safety and her life to be shattered so many years later by unwanted contact with her rapist was a renewed assault. Her writing and her recollection in such detail made the story very insightful and very real. The trial transcripts were nerve-wracking to read, as the defense lawyer tried to undermine her credibility as she sat so close to her rapist. To learn the shocking truths of what really happened to her that night, and to know how many people were never held accountable for their crimes or their part in concealing them is outrageous. Liz is a very brave woman for standing up to her rapist, for sharing her story and for continuing to assist other victims of rape. I found her story riveting and read it in one sitting, and despite the difficult subject matter, this is a book I would highly recommend as both a cautionary tale and ultimately an uplifting example of courage.
lesliecp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book very interesting and well written. I finished it in one day. The book describes Liz Seccuro's rape at a frat house during college and its subsequent effects on her life. Although drugged, Seccuro was able to identify her rapist. However, legal action was stalled by the college and legal system and no arrest was made. More than twenty years after the fact, the rapist, William Bebee, writes to Seccuro asking for forgiveness. Her response and the reasons for it are detailed in the book. I was facinated by the decisions made by Liz Seccuro and by her rapist and pondered this story long after I finished it. Highly recommended.
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