Can you stand to read one more thing about the Rolling Stone story?

I hope so. It’s not easy to take on all of the subtlety and difficulty of this situation, but columnist Megan McArdle has managed it.

Here it is.

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3 Responses to Can you stand to read one more thing about the Rolling Stone story?

  1. nmk99d says:

    This story is getting me dangerously close to chucking my laptop at a wall out of anger.

    Yes, she raises some very valid points as far as evidence goes. But here’s my main problem with the majority of her points: would you be able to recall every single detail of what happened to you if you were raped? Wouldn’t you be so in shock that it would be easy to misremember details such as whether it was really glass that you were laying on, how well you could see and what the boys were actually saying? I don’t doubt for a second that some of these were guesses or muffled memories that Jackie shared with Sabrina. However, by no means does it mean that it didn’t happen just because a few details might have been incorrect.

    I could refute every single claim she makes in detail, but instead I’ll say this: why would Jackie make this story up, tell it to Rolling Stone then not use her real name? If she wanted to make it up and become famous out of it, that would make some sense, but I doubt she would have concealed her identity seeing as you need to be identified to become famous.

    Also, who in God’s name would spend three years living a life based around a story that they constructed just to tell to a prominent magazine and stir up some controversy? Jackie has clearly devoted her life to increase awareness of sexual assault, but something tells me that she wouldn’t do that just for the hell of it.

    My rant aside, the social justice advocate in me/believer that journalism is a powerful tool for change is only inspired by backlash like this: http://nikikottmann.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/rolling-stone-backlash-only-inspires-me-more/

  2. reedkath says:

    I know… It is hard to believe anyone would want to put themselves through this agony unless they felt they were fighting a very just cause. And her “muffled memories” are understandable for a trauma survivor. But as journalists, we have to be extra careful in working with trauma survivors on stories because of these differences. I hope you’ll share some of this in class this morning because I think you make several key points here.

  3. katherinejlegry says:

    Evidently the Greek houses are demanding an apology from the school, according to reports this morning, for damage to the Greek image and for suspending all frats and sororities for six months. Which is only indicative of the “too big to fail” culture that these future students will grown into and thrive in. It’s also reflective of a judicial system that sees corporations as people, with financed voting power and no individual responsibility.

    Jackie’s father stands by her as does her college suite mate. Their voices make sense about how and why Jackie’s story has discrepancies without being a false accusation of rape.

    Most of the women I’ve met have been sexually assaulted, molested, or raped at some point in their lives. Whether I’ve gotten to know them well or not, this is the common account. Some of their experiences were minimized and the actions taken against the aggressors were like a slap on the hand, or covered up. That made future rape and harassment more possible in the victims lives, due to the victim’s sense that nothing “big” happened. I mean, family and friends and public opinion can do that. They can make a victim of sexual assault feel like, “It could have been worse” so “buck up”. They can side with the boy they always liked and prefer to remember him that way. They can literally remember everything differently and never hear the side of the girl. They can block a victim from contacting the aggressor when she wants to confront or resolve the past. I know women who were taken advantage of in pap-smears before and after nurses were required in the room. I know one who took action against a doctor and was given a position on a patient advocacy board, but the doctor still practices because she’d been the only complaint. I know a woman whose college don sexually harassed her and although the dean assisted her letter to him, and she joined things like a campus sexual assault task force, he not only proceeded to have an affair with a different female student, he even got tenured. The professor’s last name rhymes with “foreplay” and he was called that by the female student body, openly.

    In reading about how a journalist should or should not go about the story, whether to vet the accused rapists, and what is fair reporting not sided reporting, I’ve found that journalism is male dominated too. It is the establishment and it doesn’t have to care how the story comes out. It will make money off of rape.

    So many of the comments that follow Megan McArdle’s article that this links to, truly display a complete lack of understanding of rape trauma and a lack of belief in ANY victims story. The whole rape culture is excited to not just prove the victim is a liar but now they are accusing her of being mentally ill.

    RollingStone should not have retracted anything. They should be writing follow ups and expanding articles, but they should never have withdrawn support. That withdrawal does undermine all victims of rape and it assists the status quo making it more difficult for girls to come forward. As well as they now “look like” they are siding with the boys out of backlash and pressure, as RS popularity suddenly dips.

    What McArdle argues and how she is breaking it down for journalists to dig deeper into the other side to prevent confusion is fine, but it still basically presumes the victim is more to blame and the boys less guilty.

    I don’t know how laws are ever going to be refined to help victims of rape. Rape just isn’t seen as a real crime and the victims aren’t seen as competent humans.

    Thanks for your follow up work about this.

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