One in six women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, according to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Some of these women will be able to confront their attacker through our justice system, but many will not. “Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice an Redemption” is the story of one woman who got to point out her attacker in a police lineup and watch him be sentenced in court to a lifetime in prison. It is also the story of a man sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit and how survived our prison system.
“Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice an Redemption” is an easy read, despite the rough topic at hand. It begins with a foreword (a part of books that I admittedly often skip) showing Jennifer Thompson Cannino, the rape victim, and Ronald Cotton, the purported rapist, hanging out as friends. I was immediately intrigued.
Without giving away the meat of the story, what I found most valuable were the lessons in the importance of good police work, slid evidence and careful application of sentences as severe as the death penalty, a topic I won’t go into my opinion of but which this book clearly shows has it’s flaws. (Learn more from the Innocence Project.)
I challenge people to read this book and learn about forgiveness, the legal system (more than what my beloved Law & Order shows on television) and circumstances that I fear happen all too often in our country without anyone knowing it.