UVA Students Continue Dialogue on Sexual Assault, PTSD, and Irresponsible Journalism

Dec 7, 2014

Credit Photo: Hawes Spencer

In the wake of Rolling Stone renouncing its own story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, some students say that Jackie, the undergraduate at the center of the storm, has been abused-- this time by the magazine.

"We are trying to stop a culture of blaming the victim, but that's exactly what they did: they blamed the victim."

That's Jacob Irby, as he meets up with members of a student singing group along Rugby Road. Another, Frank Song, says the article carved a path of destruction by portraying administrators and students as indifferent to rape.

"They're grouping UVA students all together as a whole and blaming all of us, and then we are turning around and grouping fraternities as a whole and blaming them. And that's exactly what we do in in wars."

Sandra Menendez lives on the Lawn and volunteers for the UVA Women's Center. Having read about the unreliability of human memory in the wake of trauma, Menendez shakes her head at Rolling Stone, which in its retraction, attacked the veracity of Jackie.

"I do believe that she was raped. I do think also that there are probably parts of the story that might be false that might be result of post-traumatic stress disorder or false recall."

One thing students agree on is that Rolling Stone hurt Jackie with its failure to contact sources who could have corroborated, refuted, or just clarified what happened.

"I think the incident that we're dealing with now is a blend of the brain in trauma but also, I would have to say, irresponsible journalism."