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  • The UVA Gang Rape that Wasn’t

    The UVA Gang Rape that Wasn
    December 6, 2014 3:00 AM
    The UVA Gang Rape that Wasn’t
    Rolling Stone should be held accountable for its false accusations against UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter.
    By Jonah Goldberg

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s (updated) weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays.

    Dear Reader,

    When I wrote the “news”letter below, the news had not broken yet that Rolling Stone — and really the Washington Post — had confirmed what I believed all along: This story was bogus. My only regret is that I didn’t write the column a week earlier like I wanted. My immediate reaction to the story was “this is bull****.” But I didn’t want to write that without at least making some phone calls. Anyway, congrats to Richard Bradley and Robert Soave for beating me to the punch. And congratulations to Phi Kappa Psi; usually it takes a little longer to be vindicated, when it happens at all. I very much hope you sue Rolling Stone the way the Mongol Hordes attacked their enemies.

    You see, I’m not a huge fan of fraternities, but I have the quaint view that when a major national publication falsely accuses an institution of being an organized criminal organization that specializes in ritual gang rape, they should be held accountable. It isn’t like Rolling Stone criticized a statistical hockey stick — if you know what I’m saying — they reported (and defended their reporting) to the whole world that this fraternity is an institutional rape gang.

    Anyway, I was going to revise this G-File to reflect the news. But frankly I think it holds up just fine as it is, so long as you keep in mind that I wrote before my very deeply held suspicion was confirmed. Meanwhile, my immediate response to the news is here. I’ll save further thoughts for later.

    ***

    Dear Reader (Unless you find the “Dear” part offensive. Feel free to insert “Yo”),

    Let’s skip the introductory jocularity and jump right into it. I promise there will be inappropriate jocularity at the end.

    So I am having a hard time getting my head around something. All week people have been calling me a “rape apologist” and “pro-rape.” I’m being constantly informed that I don’t understand “rape culture.” These often hysterical accusations tend to come from people who seem to understand rape culture the same way some people understand the geopolitics of Westeros or Middle Earth: They’ve studied it, they know every detail about it, they just seem to have forgotten it doesn’t exist.

    Now, hold on. I certainly believe rape happens. And I definitely believe we have cultural problems that lead to date rape and other drunken barbarisms and sober atrocities. But the term “rape culture” suggests that there is a large and obvious belief system that condones and enables rape as an end in itself in America. This simply strikes me as an elaborate political lie intended to strengthen the hand of activists. There’s definitely lots that is wrong with our culture, particularly youth culture and specifically campus culture. Sybaritic, crapulent, hedonistic, decadent, bacchanalian: choose your adjectives.

    What is most remarkable about our problems is that they seem to take people by surprise. For instance, it would be commonsense to our grandmothers that some drunk men will do bad things, particularly in a moral vacuum, and that women should take that into account. I constantly hear that instead of lecturing women about their behavior we should teach men not to rape. I totally, completely, 100 percent agree that we should teach men not to rape. The problem is we do that. A lot. Maybe we should do it more. We also teach people not to murder — another heinous crime. But murders happen too. That’s why we advise our kids to steer clear of certain neighborhoods at certain times and avoid certain behaviors. I’m not “pro-murder” if I tell my kid not to walk through the park at night and flash money around any more than I am pro-rape if I give her similar advice.

    Tax Gallantry, Get Less Gallantry

    Of course, the problem is that feminists want to expunge any notion that women are gentler and fairer. This requires declaring war on chivalric standards for male conduct, which were once a great bulwark against caddish and rapacious behavior. Take away the notion that men should be protective of women and they will — surprise! — be less protective of women.

    None of this means we’d all be better off with women in corsets on fainting couches. (I like strong, assertive women so much I married one. I’m also the son of one, and I’m trying to raise another.) But somehow feminists have gotten themselves into the position of adopting the adolescent male’s fantasy of consequence-and-obligation-free sex as an ideal for women. Uncivilized and morally uneducated men have, for millennia, wanted to treat women like sluts. And now feminists have embraced the word as a badge of honor. Call me an old-fogey, but I think that’s weird.

    What Rape Epidemic?

    But I digress. As Roman Polanski said, let’s get back to the rape stuff. A lot of implausible things have to be true for rape culture to be the problem feminists claim it is. First, the statistics on forcible rape have to be really out of whack. Forcible rapes according to the FBI are heading towards a 40-year low. So there must be a lot of rapes going on that are not captured in those statistics. And there surely are. Some women understandably but lamentably don’t come forward. But for a “rape epidemic” and a “rape crisis,” never mind a “rape culture,” to exist there’d have to be more stigma against coming forward today than there was in the past. Anyone think that’s true? Anyone? I didn’t think so.

    Oh, and if that is true, if the stigma against reporting sexual assaults is worse today than it was 40, 50, or 100 years ago, could there be a bigger indictment of the feminist project? The women’s-studies programs, the support groups and crisis centers, the public-education and sensitivity-training programs, movies like The Burning Bed and The Accused, the Lorena Bobbitt apologias and all those nights taken back: and women are now more scared to report being sexually assaulted? If that’s true, pack it up, ladies/womyn, and call it a day. You are complete and total failures. Collect your gold watches (or hemp tote bags) and walk off the public stage as we politely golf-clap your exit.

    Jackie’s Tale

    I probably should have said earlier why I am being called a “rape apologist.” I mean, if you didn’t know I’d written a column calling shenanigans on the Rolling Stone story about an alleged rape at UVA you might be understandably confused, even a little worried. (“Gosh, Jonah never seemed too rapey to me.”) If you haven’t read it you probably should so I don’t have to recap everything. I’ll wait.

    So, basically, I simply don’t believe the Rolling Stone story is true. As I say in my column, I’m sure some of the author’s reporting is true. But I just don’t believe Jackie’s story as it’s told in the piece. I think the dialogue is absurd. I think the sequence of events is wildly implausible. And I think the overall picture the author paints is propagandistic, not reportorial. How often does a reporter set out to find the perfect horror story to advance her agenda and then, with remarkably little effort, have it handed to her? Again, I don’t just mean the rape allegation itself, but all that follows it. I’ll admit if the story was just of the rape itself I might have believed it longer, but the conversations among her “friends” is so convenient it sent the needle on my b.s. detector past the red zone into the fine print that reads “Bull**** Detector By Ronco. Patent Pending.” Here are some examples I couldn’t fit into my column. Remember, these are Jackie’s friends — who believe she was gang raped and beaten for three hours:

    “One of my roommates said, ‘Do you want to be responsible for something that’s gonna paint UVA in a bad light?’ ” says Jackie, poking at a vegan burger at a restaurant on the Corner, UVA’s popular retail strip. “But I said, ‘UVA has flown under the radar for so long, someone has to say something about it, or else it’s gonna be this system that keeps perpetuating!’”  Jackie frowns. “My friend just said, ‘You have to remember where your loyalty lies.’”

    And:

    She was having an especially difficult time figuring out how to process that awful night, because her small social circle seemed so underwhelmed. For the first month of school, Jackie had latched onto a crew of lighthearted social strivers, and her pals were now impatient for Jackie to rejoin the merriment. “You’re still upset about that?” Andy asked one Friday night when Jackie was crying. Cindy, a self-declared hookup queen, said she didn’t see why Jackie was so bent out of shape. “Why didn’t you have fun with it?” Cindy asked. “A bunch of hot Phi Psi guys?”

    I’m sorry, but those conversations didn’t happen. (One hint it didn’t happen is that if it did, a hole in the ground would open up, Satan would pop out in a swirl of sulfuric smoke, and tip his hat to Cindy.)

    But don’t tell that to Diana Crandall (or, for that matter, “SluttySlutSlut1”). The LA Times, where an earlier version of my UVA column appeared, has a charming habit of rushing to post rebuttals of my columns as soon as possible. I really don’t mind — it’s kind of a compliment and it’s actually a good idea in general. But the rebuttals, in my humble opinion, aren’t always that compelling. Enter Ms. Crandall.

    I think her entire response to my column is fairly ridiculous, tendentious, and in relentless bad faith. But I’m not going to go point-by-point through her deliberate misreadings and non sequiturs. She works from the assumption that I have no personal experiences to support my view. Never mind that I’ve visited something like 100 campuses in the last decade or so (including UVA more than once). Never mind that, as I noted in the column, I talked to quite a few people in the UVA community before I wrote it. Never mind that I went to, and served on the board of trustees of, a college where feminism was The One True Faith. And never mind that my own experiences — like hers — are utterly irrelevant to whether or not the Rolling Stone story is true! Crandall & Co. hate the idea that the veracity of the story itself should be debated. What matters is the cause, not the details. So they shoot the messenger and change the subject.

    I will say I loved the appeal to her own experience as a member of a coed fraternity. Apparently this gave her deep insights into rape culture. Um, ok. One question: If you learned so much about rape culture at this fraternity, why on earth did you stay a member?

    But here’s the key point. Crandall writes:

    Goldberg further shows his lack of familiarity with the problem of college rape when he calls the victim’s friends the “worst . . . imaginable” for not immediately reporting her brutal assault. Here, Goldberg fails to appreciate the very real fear of being chastised for reporting a rape. I’m not saying that the friends were right in not reporting it, and I’m not making a judgment on whether or not the assault happened. But it’s clear that Goldberg’s cultural distance from modern campus life and disregard of the social consequences of reporting an assault render him inadequate to judge the veracity of a rape allegation.

    First of all, we aren’t talking about “a rape allegation” we are talking about this rape allegation. Crandall is simply wrong to say I can’t “appreciate the very real fear of being chastised for reporting a rape.” Her mind-reading skills notwithstanding, I can testify here and now that I can. What Crandall and countless others, including Sabrina Erdely, her editors, and their defenders can’t appreciate is that as onerous as the stigma on rape victims may or may not be, the stigma against rapists is worse.

    No, really, it’s true. There’s a well-documented tendency for known or suspected — and especially convicted — rapists to be stigmatized. They’re shunned by polite society. They have trouble finding work. They often have to register as sex offenders and — oh yeah — they very often are sent to jail for very long periods of time. And this is as it should be.

    But this fact is also why I am deeply skeptical of the story. Most of the UVA students I’ve met — and I’ve met a lot — are the sorts of kids who worry a lot about their permanent records. That makes sense; UVA is a truly great school with an impressive academic culture. And so while I can certainly believe sexual assaults and rapes happen there — drunk and sober — I simply cannot believe that nine men sat around soberly and plotted a brutal gang rape that would land them all in jail for decades — never mind hinder their chances of working at Goldman Sachs! At least not as presented in Erdely’s story. Indeed, it wouldn’t just be nine men, because you can’t keep such plans a secret in a fraternity when the rape is an initiation ritual. You need to make sure all of the kids are down with committing a heinous felony. You need to make sure they all know where to wait to commit the deed. And you need to make sure no one blabs to that one guy who isn’t totally and completely down with “rape culture.” That requires conversations, lots of conversations. And lots of conversations make secrets hard to keep.

    What baffles and infuriates me is that I am supposed to be pro-rape and a rape apologist because I want to get to the truth. If this story is true, these men (and, frankly, the dean) should go to jail. The whole fraternity should be prosecuted for running a criminal enterprise. Honestly, as a matter of justice I’d have no problem seeing Drew hang. Meanwhile the heroic enemies of rape and rape culture are outraged that anyone would want these men exposed and brought to justice. That’s bananas.

    I understand why most of the debate in the press about the Rolling Stone piece is about journalistic ethics. That’s fine. But my complaint isn’t that she didn’t talk to the alleged rapists. My complaint — or at least my claim — is that the story isn’t true. The fact she didn’t get quotes from the alleged rapists isn’t Erdely’s crime, it’s evidence of it.

    The Story

    Okay so my apologies for the rapiest G-File ever. I should rename it the Sabine file.

    I wrote the Happy Warrior column for the latest issue of NR. It’s alright for a column written in the lobby of a Homewood Suites in Charlotte, N.C. (“Don’t oversell it dude” — The Couch). I don’t want to hinder the onrush of newsstand sales, but the gist of it is that I think the mainstream media, the entire liberal-industrial complex really, is first and foremost about storytelling, not fact reporting. Facts that advance the story get prominence, facts that don’t remain undisclosed or downplayed. This is why the media has simply lost its mind about Elizabeth Lauten. As I write:

    I don’t mean to pile on Ms. Lauten, who was forced to resign from her job over the firestorm, but she is not what one would call a big fish in Washington. She is — or rather was — the communications director of a little-known second-term Tennessee congressman. Plucking her out of obscurity for ritual sacrifice is a bit like some monarch dispatching soldiers to retrieve a girl from the hinterlands for a witch trial because she said something nefarious around the village well.

    But prosecuting witches is rarely about the witches, it’s about the prosecutors. Anyway, I argue that the Liberal Story changes with the times, but the underlying motivation or theme is what endures. Liberals are the Good Guys. This was a huge part of my argument in Liberal Fascism. The Left believes it has a monopoly on political virtue and therefore the farther you get from the left, the closer you get to All Bad Things and All Bad People. So racists have to be exclusively right-wing. Ditto fascists, bullies, Sith Lords et al. For the storytellers, “conservative” isn’t a description of a set of ideas, it’s a description of “things I don’t like” and “things we are brave rebels for opposing.”

    For instance, I was reading Frank Rich’s interview of Chris Rock, which has some interesting things in it (and some bat-guano crazy things in it). Take a look at this:

    What do you make of the attempt to bar Bill Maher from speaking at Berkeley for his riff on Muslims?

    Well, I love Bill, but I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative.

    In their political views?

    Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of “We’re not going to keep score in the game because we don’t want anybody to lose.” Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say “the black kid over there.” No, it’s “the guy with the red shoes.” You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.

    When did you start to notice this?

    About eight years ago. Probably a couple of tours ago. It was just like, This is not as much fun as it used to be. I remember talking to George Carlin before he died and him saying the exact same thing.

    This is a really interesting insight about college culture (and runs counter to the idea that campuses are hotbeds of pro-rape sentiment, by the way). But “conservative”? I totally understand what Rock is saying and, in a sense, he’s right if you mean by “conservative” prudential, cautious, etc. But let’s not kid ourselves. It is not political conservatism that has created this climate.

    But the really hilarious part of the interview comes not from Chris Rock but from Frank Rich. He thinks Dennis Miller isn’t as funny as he used to be, and certainly not as funny as Jon Stewart or Bill Maher. Why? Well, Miller’s politics have to be part of it, Rich concedes. Going deeper, he asks Rock, “Do you think that identifying with those in power is an impediment to laughter?”

    Yes, that just happened. Frank Rich, former Timesman, former Broadway hitmaker, current cheerleader for Barack Obama, and cosseted praetorian of the liberal establishment thinks that Dennis Miller is the guy identifying with those in power. Not Jon Stewart, not Bill Maher, but Dennis Miller. When will these people realize that being liberal, particularly in the entertainment business, is literally the least brave, the least rebellious, and safest thing you can do?

    The funny part is that Frank Rich is right. Sucking up to power is deleterious to humor — unless you’re really, really good at it (like Jon Stewart). This is why Saturday Night Live has been so politically unfunny for the bulk of the Obama presidency (see Kyle Smith’s definitive take). And it’s also why so much of the liberal establishment soiled itself when SNL actually ran a funny skit about Obama recently. “To the fact checkers!” they cried just like they didn’t for 13.2 gajillion skits attacking various Republicans.

    Fremdschämen fur Hillary!

    As you may know, I’m of the school that Hillary Clinton is a wildly overrated candidate. She’s dull, deliberate, politically slow-witted, and inarticulate off the cuff. As I often say, she’s the lady who tells you, “Young man, there’s no eating in the library.” But that’s just one man’s opinion. There are smart and serious people who think otherwise. And there are smart and serious people who want you to think otherwise too. Enter the Hillary country music video:

    Now, there are many, many, many, many problems with this. It’s like it was written by Willy Nelson in Wag the Dog, except the Willie Nelson songs in Wag the Dog sounded less like a parody. I mean, there’s almost a Freudian slip in the lyric “Stand up with Hillary.” Standup is a comedy routine. “Stand with” is a call to solidarity. In North Korea you can release videos showing the Dear Leader as a paladin riding a unicorn over a rainbow bridge into battle against a dragon and people will buy it. But seriously, who will buy this?

    It’s so desperate, so discordant, so forced it’s like watching Mitch Daniels in a Gangsta Rap video (“Earn your riches! Entitlement reform, bitches! I’m gonna make it rain work incentives!”) or Henry Kissinger in a codpiece with a bunch of babes twerking in the background. Funny? Sure. But it’s also weird. It makes me feel vaguely unsafe, like I would if I was sitting next to a really flirty, inebriated, and profane Madeleine Albright on a long flight. “Madame Secretary! The sign says ‘Occupado!’”

    But, as I said, this is just one guy’s opinion. Other people disagree. And to show you how evenhanded I am, I’m going to prove it. I just want to be clear about something. If you click on this, you won’t be able to unsee it. It will be with you always. The same goes for this, especially the dude in the hat on the lower left. Oh, yes, it’s all work safe, but not necessarily mind safe.

    Various & Sundry

    As you can probably tell, I’m a little ticked off at the responses to my column. I don’t mind disagreement. I get that every day. But what really drives me nuts is the shallow and ignorant assumption — usually made by shallow and ignorant people — that being offended is an argument. Taking offense in and of itself has no moral weight to it whatsoever. It depends why you are taking offense. And if you can’t even articulate why you’re offended, don’t bother telling me you’re offended. Because absent a good reason to be offended, I really don’t care. I’m with Stephen Fry with this. I’m only sorry I didn’t dedicate a whole chapter in my last book to “Being Offended.”

    I’m writing this at a Pete’s Coffee on Broadway and 77th. Last night I spoke at NYU for the AEI student group there. My thanks to everyone who turned out, including the folks giving me the fish-eye.

    While at Peet’s, a guy very politely came up to me to thank me for “some” of my writings and to let me know that I blocked him on Twitter a while back. I don’t remember the exchange but I promised to unblock him. Still, it’s always uncomfortable/weird when online life merges with real life.

    Here’s my column defending Rand Paul. You probably won’t see these too often.

    Here’s my recommendation. The Serial podcast is really fantastic. Let’s discuss when it’s all over.

    Speaking of podcasts, I’m thinking of starting my own. Thoughts? Advice? I have my own views on how to do it, but I’d like to hear yours.

    Zoë Update: Oh, she’s been a bad Dingo, punishing us for putting her in lockup over Thanksgiving. Two nights ago, I found her in the living room chewing on a mouse like a wad of hubba-bubba. Meanwhile, she won’t come to the car at the dog park unless you start to drive away. And on Monday morning, after I got her in the car she jumped out the window because she forgot to tell a Dalmatian something important. Yesterday, also in the dog park, she found a vole or some such and buried it on the side of the trail. If you want it I’m sure it’s still there at Battery Kemble. Buy stock in shock collars.

    Or maybe I’ll just enter her in a spaghetti-eating contest.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  • #2
    Blame Rolling Stone
    2.8k
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    Whether Jackie’s account is truthful or not, the magazine failed her, its readers, and rape victims everywhere.
    By Hanna Rosin
    141205_DX_UVARotunda The University of Virginia.

    Photo illustration by Slate. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

    Rolling Stone issued a statement today saying it can no longer stand by its story about a brutal gang rape of a young woman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity party. “In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.” The magazine did not elaborate on the new information but the Washington Post, which has essentially been re-reporting the story since it broke last month, and representatives for the Virginia chapter of the fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, started providing the details.
    Hanna Rosin Hanna Rosin

    Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.

    According to Phi Kappa Psi lawyer Ben Warthen, the frat apparently did not host a party on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, which is when Jackie said she was lured upstairs by her date, “Drew,” and gang raped by seven men. Jackie had said she met Drew because they were lifeguards together, but no member of the fraternity was employed by the university’s Aquatic Fitness Center during that time frame. Also, the Rolling Stone story implied that the rape was some kind of an initiation ritual, but pledging takes place during the spring semester, not the fall.




    Up until now, Jackie had been reluctant to reveal the name of the man who took her on the date. But this week, according to the Post, she told it to some of her friends—activists who had supported her since the alleged rape. The man whose name she gave belonged to a different fraternity, not Phi Kappa Psi. A Post reporter contacted him and he said he knew Jackie’s name but had never met her in person or taken her on a date. That’s a detail to pay attention to. He could be lying, of course, but that’s a pretty bold lie, not just to say he’d never dated her or taken her to a party but he’d never met her.

    What this Rolling Stone story shows is that maybe we’ve reached a point where we hold stories about rape to a lower standard.
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    The rest of the Post story so far paints a confusing picture and leaves the impression that the Post reporters are not quite ready yet to call Jackie’s story a fabrication. Jackie recounted to Post reporter T. Rees Shapiro the same story she had told Rolling Stone and added some details, saying, for example, that her date had taken her to an extravagant dinner at Boar’s Head Inn. She called the night of the rape “the worst three hours of my life” and said “I have nightmares about it every night.” Her roommate from that year Rachel Soltis confirmed that Jackie changed during that semester and became “withdrawn” and “depressed,” although she wasn’t with her the night Jackie says she was assaulted.

    So where does that leave us? It’s still quite possible that something happened to Jackie that night. It’s possible she was so traumatized that she is getting a lot of the details wrong, or that whatever happened to her has taken on greater levels of baroque horror in her imagination. It was hard to take in her original story, of a calmly orchestrated gang rape during a big party. But it’s just as hard to take in that a young woman would make up such a story, tell it to a reporter, and not expect it all to unravel. But strange things happen. And more information will surely come out soon.

    One thing we know is that Rolling Stone did a shoddy job reporting, editing, and fact-checking the story and an even shoddier job apologizing. In his statement, managing editor Will Dana says the magazine relied on Jackie’s credibility and now realizes its trust was “misplaced.” (In a later series of tweets on Friday, Dana wrote that the failure “is on us—not on her.”) But any story, much less one as damning and explosive as this one, should never rely on just the credibility of one source. Earlier this week, the editor of the story, Sean Woods, told the Washington Post about the men Jackie was accusing, “I’m satisfied that these guys exist and are real. We knew who they were.” But the Washington Post reported today that Jackie never told anyone who they were until this week. Jackie may turn out to have partially or totally fabricated her story, but the blame is on Rolling Stone for putting her in this position, and for the damage done to the members of Phi Kappa Psi whose names have been circulating around the Internet for the last few days. People lie. It’s better when they don’t. But it’s Rolling Stone who blew this woman’s story up into a huge national issue without doing any of the work to make sure it was true. (Which is why we are not using Jackie’s full name.)

    The dance between reporter and source in this case seems to have been a dicey one. The reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, told us on the DoubleX Gabfest that she had been looking at different campuses to find an example that would illustrate how badly universities handle allegations of campus sexual assault. She came upon Jackie’s story of a gang rape, and, as any reporter would, concluded this was a story that needed to be told. If universities couldn’t even properly handle a brutal, orchestrated gang rape, then the system was seriously broken.

    Jackie told the Post that she felt “manipulated” by Erdely. She said that she was “overwhelmed” by sitting through interviews with her and asked to be taken out of the story, but Erdely said it would go forward anyway. Jackie said she “felt completely out of control of my own story.” Erdely has implied that she made an agreement with Jackie that she would tell her story but not try to contact her assailants. Rolling Stone explained in their statement today: “Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie's story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her.”

    Such agreements are apparently not uncommon. In survivors’ groups, advocates advise victims to strike these kinds of deals with reporters so they don’t lose control of their own stories, or anger their assailants, both of which they consider paramount to healing. But this creates an impossible situation for journalists: Ask too many questions and you lose your source. But don’t ask enough and you end up in this situation, with a story that’s falling apart. (Third and very legitimate option: Kill the story.) Late Friday, Dana also tweeted that Rolling Stone should have “either not made this agreement with Jackie,” or “worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story.” It must be said, though, that there are many ways of verifying a story without directly contacting the assailants. Visiting the Aquatic Center to see if a member of Phi Psi worked there, for one. Finding out from other people if there was a party that night. Talking to the friends who Jackie said picked her up after the alleged incident, which we are still not sure the reporter did.

    Fake rape allegations may be very rare but they have a huge impact, especially when they get so much attention. Recently I heard a story from someone who went to the high school with one of the Duke lacrosse players who were accused of rape. It was an all-boys school and when they heard they had produced a rapist they went through some serious soul-searching, reconsidering some of their traditions and educating the boys on sexual violence. When they learned the rape charges were trumped up, the school rallied around the boy and forgot about the reforms. Will the same thing happen at UVA, which seemed to be on the cusp on making changes at the school to better protect women from sexual assault? UVA president Teresa Sullivan says no. “Today's news must not alter this focus,” she wrote in a university-wide email today. “Here at U.Va., the safety of our students must continue to be our top priority, for all students, and especially for survivors of sexual assault.” I hope that’s true.

    One thing I heard several times when trying to do re-reporting myself: Many people had doubts about the details in the story, but didn’t really care, as long as it was effecting change at UVA. I don’t agree. But I still hope we can salvage some good from this episode, even if Jackie’s story proves false. Perhaps one thing we should look at is how we treat victims of sexual violence so differently than other victims, and whether that serves them. When I initially reached out to the advocates who had supported Jackie, they wondered if maybe the media was doubting the story because it was about rape, and people have always doubted victims of rape, and held stories about rape to a higher standard. But what this Rolling Stone story shows is that maybe we’ve reached a point where we hold stories about rape to a lower standard. What we should hope for instead is a world where college administrators, and reporters, can ask a victim of sexual assault questions and carefully investigate without it being seen as a betrayal of the victim but rather as part of the effort to seek justice.

    Finally, if this turns out to be a fabrication, we should wonder why we were so quick to believe it. In the last few days, the names of the fraternity members started to leak out, and many of us began to look up their Facebook pages. I found myself playing the profiling game: Is that the kind of haircut a rapist would have? Are those the kinds of girls he would have hanging all over him? Oh, yeah, that bro is totally a rapist. If the boys remain shadows in these stories, as so many of them have as we’ve (rightfully) focused our attention on campus sexual assault, then we can project all our prejudices onto them. Which is exactly what people did to women for all those years.
    Rolling Stone backs away from its UVA gang rape story.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

    Comment


    • #3
      The rape culture is too serious an matter to be left up to the evidence.
      No matter what Jackie said, we should generally believe rape claims
      Incredulity hurts victims more than it hurts wrongly-accused perps.
      Zerlina Maxwell
      By Zerlina Maxwell December 6 at 6:00 AM
      Zerlina Maxwell is a political analyst, speaker, lawyer, and writer. She typically writes about national politics and cultural issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, and gender inequality.

      The University of Virginia Board of Visitors met to discuss sexual assaults on campus last week. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

      In last month’s deep and damning Rolling Stone report about sexual assault at the University of Virginia, a reporter told the story of “Jackie,” who said she was gang raped at a fraternity party and then essentially ignored by the administration. It helped dramatize what happens when the claims of victims are not taken seriously.

      Now the narrative appears to be falling apart: Her rapist wasn’t in the frat that she says he was a member of; the house held no party on the night of the assault; and other details are wobbly. Many people (not least U-Va. administrators) will be tempted to see this as a reminder that officials, reporters and the general public should hear both sides of the story and collect all the evidence before coming to a conclusion in rape cases. This is what we mean in America when we say someone is “innocent until proven guilty.” After all, look what happened to the Duke lacrosse players.

      In important ways, this is wrong. We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist. Even if Jackie fabricated her account, U-Va. should have taken her word for it during the period while they endeavored to prove or disprove the accusation. This is not a legal argument about what standards we should use in the courts; it’s a moral one, about what happens outside the legal system.

      The accused would have a rough period. He might be suspended from his job; friends might defriend him on Facebook. In the case of Bill Cosby, we might have to stop watching his shows, consuming his books or buying tickets to his traveling stand-up routine. But false accusations are exceedingly rare, and errors can be undone by an investigation that clears the accused, especially if it is done quickly.

      The cost of disbelieving women, on the other hand, is far steeper. It signals that that women don’t matter and that they are disposable — not only to frat boys and Bill Cosby, but to us. And they face a special set of problems in having their say.
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      “Rape culture,” as it is often called, is real. Because rape it is such a poisonous charge, we are so careful not to level it until we can really prove it. But this is exceedingly hard: The evidence vanishes quickly, often as soon as the survivor takes a shower; so unless she immediately reports the assault, much of the physical evidence is destroyed by the time she can get to a rape kit. (It doesn’t help that 400,000 untested rape kits are sitting on warehouse shelves collecting dust.) Many survivors do eventually come forward, but 60 percent of rapes are never reported to the police.

      And while the clock is ticking on the physical evidence, survivors are often grappling with the first stages of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), creating a perfect storm of foggy memories, isolation and denial. It’s common for them to experience a dissociative moment when they try to “get over it” and move on with their lives, says Andrea Pino, a survivor and co-founder of End Rape on Campus. “It wasn’t until 10 days after my rape, when finishing a half marathon, that I fully came to realize what had happened to me. I was covered in bruises, had lost my appetite, and even had been having nightmares, but I denied everything to myself; I couldn’t have been ‘raped,’” she says.

      The lasting psychological wound left by sexual assault is unique — and makes justice less likely. Survivors’ memories are often blurry, and they tell conflicting stories about what happened to them. The narration Jackie gave to Rolling Stone, her friends, and a Washington Post reporter do not all agree with each other. This is not surprising given the research on the aftermath a sexual assault and how PTSD affects the hippocampus portion of the brain that controls memory. (No wonder only 3 percent of rapists go to prison.)

      This is not because women lie. In fact (despite various popular myths), the FBI reports that only 2-8 percent of rape allegations turn out to be false, a number that is smaller than the number (10 percent) who lie about car theft. Yet while women claimed for years that Cosby had raped them, nothing happened. Instead, everyone who abetted and covered Cosby appeared to believe in “a massive conspiracy, between women who don’t know each other, all to bring down Cosby four decades after the fact and long after legal consequences are possible,” says Jaclyn Friedman, author of “Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape.”

      Disbelieving women, then, not only compounds their trauma (often by making them doubt their own stories), but it also lets a serial rapist go free. According to a 2002 study conducted by David Lisak at UMASS Boston, 90 percent of rapes on campus are committed by serial offenders who rape an average of six times. These people escape the rule of law — sometimes the perpetrator outlives the statute of limitations — and reinjure their victims.

      The time we spend picking apart a traumatized survivor’s narration on the hunt for discrepancies is time that should be spent punishing serial rapists. “When a woman is coming forward to reveal that she has been sexually assaulted, statistics and empathy should demand we believe and support her. By loudly disbelieving Cosby’s accusers, no matter how unlikely it is that they are all lying, we are telling the survivors in our own lives, that we don’t believe them either,” says Friedman.

      That means we have to admit that a rapist is not literally a monster; he is a person who chose to violate another person’s consent and bodily autonomy. Discrepancies in a survivor’s account are common, but we must be able to offer our hand of support to survivors without requiring them to have a video record of what happened to them as proof. We constantly wax poetic about how seriously we as a society take the dignity-crime of sexual assault, and yet we never seem to want to believe that anyone who has been accused is actually capable of committing it. Someone is out here raping 1 in 5 American women and yes, it could be someone that you know and love. It could be the boy at the frat party.
      No matter what Jackie said, we should generally believe rape claims - The Washington Post
      To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

      Comment


      • #4
        For instance, it would be commonsense to our grandmothers that some drunk men will do bad things, particularly in a moral vacuum, and that women should take that into account. I constantly hear that instead of lecturing women about their behavior we should teach men not to rape. I totally, completely, 100 percent agree that we should teach men not to rape. The problem is we do that. A lot. Maybe we should do it more. We also teach people not to murder — another heinous crime. But murders happen too. That’s why we advise our kids to steer clear of certain neighborhoods at certain times and avoid certain behaviors. I’m not “pro-murder” if I tell my kid not to walk through the park at night and flash money around any more than I am pro-rape if I give her similar advice.
        THIS. Absolutely and totally THIS.

        There are a lot of bad people in this world, many times situationally so. So why is it "pro-rape" to advocate women to take certain precautions, act and dress with discernment, be aware of their surroundings? Telling someone to keep their wallet in their front, rather than their back, pocket while at a sports stadium for example, is not "pro-pickpocket" is it?

        I take certain precautions myself in my daily life, particularly near my place of work, which is in a "bad" neighborhood. I lock my cars doors *always*. I am aware of my surroundings. I avoid being in the area after dark. On the rare occasions I have to use the gas station down the block, I leave my cell phone and wallet in the center console of my car. I stand up straight and tall, with my head on a swivel, constantly scanning the parking lot.

        But by the logic of others, by taking these precautions and recommending them to my new coworkers, I'm clearly a "pro-racist".
        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

        Comment


        • #5
          I argue that the Liberal Story changes with the times, but the underlying motivation or theme is what endures. Liberals are the Good Guys. This was a huge part of my argument in Liberal Fascism. The Left believes it has a monopoly on political virtue and therefore the farther you get from the left, the closer you get to All Bad Things and All Bad People. So racists have to be exclusively right-wing. Ditto fascists, bullies, Sith Lords et al. For the storytellers, “conservative” isn’t a description of a set of ideas, it’s a description of “things I don’t like” and “things we are brave rebels for opposing.”
          Oh yeah, and THIS.
          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
            THIS. Absolutely and totally THIS.

            There are a lot of bad people in this world, many times situationally so. So why is it "pro-rape" to advocate women to take certain precautions, act and dress with discernment, be aware of their surroundings? Telling someone to keep their wallet in their front, rather than their back, pocket while at a sports stadium for example, is not "pro-pickpocket" is it?

            I take certain precautions myself in my daily life, particularly near my place of work, which is in a "bad" neighborhood. I lock my cars doors *always*. I am aware of my surroundings. I avoid being in the area after dark. On the rare occasions I have to use the gas station down the block, I leave my cell phone and wallet in the center console of my car. I stand up straight and tall, with my head on a swivel, constantly scanning the parking lot.

            But by the logic of others, by taking these precautions and recommending them to my new coworkers, I'm clearly a "pro-racist".
            TH,

            I can see why people think that not dressing provocatively can lessen the chances of rape, it's a fairly intuitive thing to conclude when we parallel it with taking measures to lessen the chances of other crimes like pickpoketing and mugging. I don't at all think coming to that conclusion makes you "pro-rape" or even apathetic to the issue at all. That said, I'd say the main reason why many women often look at this advice as a practice in apathy can be found in the statistics for rapes.

            http://www.cdc.gov/violencepreventio...atasheet-a.pdf

            In a nationally representative survey:
            • Among female rape victims, perpetrators were reported to be intimate partners (51.1%), family members (12.5%), acquaintances (40.8%) and strangers (13.8%).
            • Among male rape victims, perpetrators were reported to be acquaintances (52.4%) and strangers (15.1%).
            • Among male victims who were made to penetrate someone else, perpetrators were reported to be intimate partners (44.8%), acquaintances (44.7%) and strangers (8.2%).
            As they show, the vast majority of perpetrators of rape are those who knew the victim beforehand. Thus, it can be said that acts of rape in most of these cases can be, to a higher degree, attributed to individually-specific premeditated intentions rather than a "means-to-an-end" intention as in the pickpocketing example. Therefore, we start seeing measures such as "dressing appropriately" begin to sound naive and appear ignorant of the predominant causes of rape, which instead seem to center on instances of men selfishly seeing women as objects of sexual conquest (often facilitated by an entitlement complex where the man feels entitled to sexual relations because of being a "nice guy") rather than individuals with thoughts and feelings.
            "Draft beer, not people."

            Comment


            • #7
              RT, I thoroughly agree, horrors like date rape/acquaintance rape are far more prevalent and won't be prevented by standards of dress.

              My frustration is that basic precautionary measures are hurled back as being "pro-rape" and "victim-blaming".
              Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                RT, I thoroughly agree, horrors like date rape/acquaintance rape are far more prevalent and won't be prevented by standards of dress.

                My frustration is that basic precautionary measures are hurled back as being "pro-rape" and "victim-blaming".
                The narrative is controlled by crazy people. But the inmates are only running the asylum because no one else gives a crap...unless it helps them sell more ad-space, of course.
                *shrug*
                More ammunition for the neo-reactionaries. Moldbug will be happy.
                "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

                Comment


                • #9
                  One thing I've been quick to learn is that some people just can't help but find something to latch onto just for the sake of overreacting or making a fuss. Not even exclusively with social issues, also with politics, theology, sports etc. etc. etc.

                  Bottom line is, addressing the issue of rape requires constructive action that come from the perspective of both genders. On one side, men provide unique insight to the thought processes (whether driven by entitlement or rampant libido) that can potentially go to extremes and lead to the unthinkable----I like to call it "nice guy syndrome." Women on the other hand provide unique insight as to preventive measures that can be taken since (not to get alarmist) they do live in a position of potential victimization every day. Rather than tailoring dress, strategies like safety in numbers, the buddy system, maintaining line of sight and communication are ultimately what rule the day.
                  "Draft beer, not people."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Okay. If you want a discussion, first you can stop referring to rapists as Nice Guys.
                    "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by GVChamp View Post
                      Okay. If you want a discussion, first you can stop referring to rapists as Nice Guys.
                      Sorry, I didn't mean any offense. The reason I put "nice guy" in quotes was to point it as a misnomer. It was rather to point out a guy who develops a feeling of entitlement to something from a woman just because they treated them nicely. I.e., paying fully for a date with the expectation that the woman will put out.
                      "Draft beer, not people."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GVChamp View Post
                        Okay. If you want a discussion, first you can stop referring to rapists as Nice Guys.
                        Originally posted by Red Team View Post
                        Sorry, I didn't mean any offense. The reason I put "nice guy" in quotes was to point it as a misnomer. It was rather to point out a guy who develops a feeling of entitlement to something from a woman just because they treated them nicely. I.e., paying fully for a date with the expectation that the woman will put out.
                        Yeah you didn't catch that GV?

                        To amplify what RT said, there's a great article on Cracked.com (of all places) that goes into this:

                        "From birth we're taught that we're owed a beautiful girl. We all think of ourselves as the hero of our own story, and we all (whether we admit it or not) think we're heroes for just getting through our day.

                        So it's very frustrating, and I mean frustrating to the point of violence, when we don't get what we're owed. A contract has been broken. These women, by exercising their own choices, are denying it to us. It's why every Nice Guy is shocked to find that buying gifts for a girl and doing her favors won't win him sex. It's why we go to "slut" and "whore" as our default insults -- we're not mad that women enjoy sex. We're mad that women are distributing to other people the sex that they owed us."
                        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I understand the idea. However, you're talking about a group of mostly shy, introverted guys who don't understand women (or people in general for that matter), and grouping them with actual rapists, who rape people.
                          That's just asinine. I've hung out with guys who are predators. They aren't Nice Guys and don't call themselves Nice Guys. They are predators, who are hunting, and think it's all part of the game. The Nice Guys are too intimidated to even talk to women, then get really excited when one social butterfly finally treats them like a human being, and get butt-hurt when they learn she isn't actually interested in them.

                          These guys aren't in the same category at all.
                          "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GVChamp View Post
                            I understand the idea. However, you're talking about a group of mostly shy, introverted guys who don't understand women (or people in general for that matter), and grouping them with actual rapists, who rape people.
                            That's just asinine. I've hung out with guys who are predators. They aren't Nice Guys and don't call themselves Nice Guys. They are predators, who are hunting, and think it's all part of the game. The Nice Guys are too intimidated to even talk to women, then get really excited when one social butterfly finally treats them like a human being, and get butt-hurt when they learn she isn't actually interested in them.

                            These guys aren't in the same category at all.
                            But...that's why he used quotation marks in the first place, to indicate sarcasm.
                            Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sounds like Rolling Stone didn't come close to doing their homework on this one.

                              Updated apology digs bigger hole for Rolling Stone - The Washington Post

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