Despite being told by NBC News executives—his bosses—to “pause” his reporting, Ronan Farrow doggedly investigated media mogul Harvey Weinstein on behalf of the many women Weinstein assaulted and/or raped. Farrow ended up going to the New Yorker magazine, where editor David Remnick welcomed him, and Farrow’s story was published. Harvey Weinstein was ultimately convicted and will probably be in jail for the rest of his life. Even if you already knew all of that, trust me: this book is still a thriller.
CATCH AND KILL intertwines a story about heinous sex crimes and abuse of power with the story of the reporter’s struggle to tell that story. Farrow keeps the focus on the women whose stories he was trying to reveal, but it is also impossible not to feel equally outraged by the media corruption he faced as he attempted to do his job.
I could tell you that this book is a page-turner (it is) and leave it at that. But it’s worth reflecting on why this book matters. Sexual violence is not solely a problem for actresses. Let me share some data from the CDC:
- Sexual violence is common. More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 38 men have experienced completed or attempted rape and 1 in 14 men was made to penetrate someone (completed or attempted) during his lifetime.
- Sexual violence starts early. One in 3 female rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11-17 years old and 1 in 8 reported that it occurred before age 10. Nearly 1 in 4 male rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11-17 years old and about 1 in 4 reported that it occurred before age 10.
- Sexual violence is costly. Recent estimates put the cost of rape at $122,461 per victim, including medical costs, lost productivity, criminal justice activities, and other costs.
CATCH AND KILL is the kind of book that throws a spotlight. You should read it.