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Rape New Yorkby Jana Leo
Synopses & Reviews
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 (to harm her or other women in the building), 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 these 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.
Jana Leo taught at Cooper Union for seven years and now divides her time between Madrid and New York. In 2007 she founded Civic Gaps, a New York think tank dedicated to studying empty or neglected spaces in the city.
"In a harrowing and intimate account Leo candidly recounts her own 'nonviolent' rape of January 25, 2001, and the subsequent six years she spent seeking justice. Ninety-four percent of rapes and sexual assaults occur within 50 miles of the victim's home, and Leo's was no different; she was assaulted in her New York apartment in the middle of the day. Despite the presence of a gun, there was no violence beyond that inherent in the act. After the initial chapter detailing her assault, most of this thin volume chronicles how Leo ended up living in the run-down Harlem apartment where the rape occurred and her years fighting an apathetic legal system. Being raped forced Leo to consider the concept of home as a safe place and confront an array of issues including poverty, crime, corruption, and 'the myth of New York,' wherein 'parasite and host are intertwined.' Refusing to be silenced or ignored, Leo takes on her assailant, landlord, and ultimately the city of New York, raising important environmental, social, physical, emotional, psychological, and existential questions. 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. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
A true story of sexual violence, a corrupt property market, and the fight for justice.
About the Author
Jana Leo: Jana Leo taught at Cooper Union for seven years, and now divides her time between Madrid and New York. In 2007, she founded Civic Gaps, a New York think tank dedicated to studying empty or neglected spaces in the city. She also founded in Madrid, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the MOSIS Foundation, which is an urban planning think tank that builds and tests models which strive to connect people and places through the use of art. Leo earned a MA in architecture from Princeton and a PhD in philosophy and art from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. Rape New York is her first book in English. Her exhibit of the documents, photos, and transcripts she used in her case recently showed at Invisible Exports gallery in NYC.
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