Michelle Bowdler’s Is Rape A Crime? A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto

When Michelle Bowdler was in her early twenties, she dreamed of becoming a writer. Then in 1984, she was violently raped during a home invasion and her whole world exploded. Once a passionate assistant editor working at a magazine, she had to rebuild her entire life while struggling with PTSD. And she did. She studied public health at Harvard (and gave the commencement speech), married her devoted wife Mary and had two children, became Executive Director of Health and Wellness at Tufts, an activist for rape victims, and joined a vibrant writing community at Grub Street in Boston. When I met Michelle in 2018, I read her manuscript and was astonished by her exquisite mastery of language and storytelling. I signed her as a client and discovered the perfect editor for her project, Bryn Clark at Flatiron Books. Witnessing Michelle achieve her 30+ years dream come true of finally publishing her book has been an honor.

Michelle’s story is one of inspiration, love, and overwhelming hope. As her publicist Amelia Possanza pointed out to us, she became the champion she needed all those years ago. I am in awe of her incredible talent as a writer, but also her generosity, kindness, and gracious spirit. I hope you will read her powerful manifesto, join the movement by supporting local grassroots organizations, and vote.

You can learn more about Michelle’s book Is Rape a Crime? and her work in this Guardian interview by another courageous writer Moira Donegan.

–Nicki Richesin