Rape New York
In the gripping first pages of this true story, Jana Leo relives the moment-by-moment experience of a home invasion and rape in her own apartment in Harlem. After she reports the crime, she waits. Between police disinterest and squabbles from the health insurance company over who’s going to pay for the rape kit, she realizes that the violence of such an experience does not stop with the crime. Increasingly concerned that the rapist will return, she seeks help from her landlord, who refuses to address security issues on the property. She comes to understand that it is precisely these conditions of newly gentrified lower-income areas which lead to vulnerable living spaces, high turnover rates, and ultimately higher profits for slumlords. In this most singular memoir, Leo weaves a psychological journey into an analysis that becomes equally personal: the fault lines of property mismanagement, class vulnerabilities, and a deeply flawed criminal justice system. In a stunning conclusion, Leo has her day in court.
"At times recalling Joan Didion's Sentimental Journeys, Leo's book is an intensely vulnerable and honest attempt to correct many of the false perceptions associated with rape. "
"Jana Leo’s Rape New York refractures and reconstructs the story of her rape and its aftermath; in re-presenting the constellation of events that lead to and from that attack, Leo represents life in all its random brutality and orchestrated dignity – in other words, the best that can be said about this book is that it is true, which is the only real measure of real art, and honest existence."
"Your front door lock is broken and your landlord doesn't give a damn. Jana Leo's exploration of the public and private spaces in Rape New York effectively merges the vulnerability of the city with that of the body itself. A powerful and engrossing work."
“In this harrowing and exhilarating narrative, Jana Leo blasts open all the comforting fictions that we take for truths. Raped in Harlem, she turns the tables on New York and instructs her own case, drawing in landlords, police, lawyers, therapists—the entire environment which conspires to normalize complex and singular experiences. A real eye-opener.”
"Absorbing, tender, insightful, terrifying, this book will change the way you think. In an extraordinary eloquent refusal of the line between the personal and the public, it takes us from the slow-motion details of a traumatic violation to a multidimensional reflection on the institutions and spaces of contemporary life. Memoir becomes urban manifesto."
"In representing the constellation of events that lead to and from her rape, Leo represents life in all its random brutality and orchestrated dignity. In other words, the best that can be said about this book is that it is true, which is the only measure of real art, and honest existence."
"So much more than an extraordinary memoir, Rape New York is crucial analysis, screed, and feminist theory. Jana Leo's story will impact every cell in your body."