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Monday Links: "Jackie," the UVA mess, and believing rape victims. Bonus: How birth control lowers divorce rates

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As most of you no doubt know, the story that a UVA student known as “Jackie” told Rolling Stone of suffering a gang rape at a UVA fraternity is coming unraveled; a number of key details in the story appear to be false.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind, though:

1) After reluctantly speaking to journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely, Jackie asked to be removed from the story; Erdely and Rolling Stone refused to honor her wishes. Ultimately, Erderly and Rolling Stone are responsible for the story, and the story’s errors, not Jackie.

2) Friends of Jackie report that in the Fall of 2012, after the night in which the assaults allegedly took place, she displayed many of the symptoms of someone who had been sexually assaulted, growing withdrawn and depressed and ultimately returning home before the term was over. I still think it’s very likely she did indeed suffer some sort of sexual assault.

3) A right-wing “journalist” has doxxed Jackie, posting what he says is her real name and other personal details.

Here are some useful pieces on the whole sad mess:

The UVA Mess Is Now a Full-Fledged Shitstorm, by Anna Merlan at Jezebel

A letter from a friend: Jackie’s story is not a hoax, by Emily Clark at The Cavalier Daily

No matter what Jackie said, we should generally believe rape claims, by Zerlina Maxwell at the Washington Post

Who is Jackie? Rolling Stone’s rape story is about a person – and I believe her, by Jessica Velenti at The Guardian

UVA Rape Survivor: Don’t Doubt a Victim’s Story Just Because It Sounds Horrific, by Liz Seccuro at Time.com.

And a few other pieces that have nothing to do with UVA:

Divorce rates keep declining. Thanks, birth control and abortion! (The teen pregnancy rate is at its lowest in decades too.) by Amanda Marcotte at RH Reality Check

Einstein’s letter defending Marie Curie shows just how long trolls have been slut-shaming women in science, by Scott Kaufman at Raw Story

On David Denby’s creepily salacious review of Wild, by Barbara Herman at International Business Times

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ikanreed
ikanreed
7 years ago

I don’t know if “slut shaming” is the right way to describe what Einstein was talking about.

Just people discrediting women on whatever basis. Could be any flavor of misogyny.

Shiraz
Shiraz
7 years ago

Hmm. Denby’s review reminds me of those neckbeards at Ain’t It Cool News. Those guys could make anything pornographic. I remember one of those yahoos kept going on about how watching Blade II was like giving a woman oral sex. Yep, they were a sophisticated bunch. And now no one under the age of 25 has ever heard of the site. Heh.

The Rolling Stone debacle. **Shakes head** They threw her under the bus fairly quickly (yeah, they modified their apology, but…). Everyone who naturally assumes rape accusation is a hobby for evil women is probably feeling really awesome right now.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

I can see how both Jackie’s story could be the truth, and for some of the details to not line up with reality. I have zero doubts that she was raped and that the outlines of her story are true. Rolling Stone absolutely should not have published the story after it became clear that Jackie doubted her memories. The expert on what happened to Jackie is Jackie, and the expert on how trustworthy Jackie’s memories are is also Jackie, and if she didn’t want to go forward with it then her wishes should have been honored.

Faint Praise
Faint Praise
7 years ago

The first I heard of this story was Rolling Stone’s butchered retraction. I think that pretty much says it all. The people who are giving this retraction such significance are the same people who kept the original story quiet.

Rolling Stone really betrayed readers’ trust here. The failure to fact check is bad enough, but throwing the bad apology/excuse after it and subsequently editing it without notice is unbelievable. They knew they had made one mistake and should have proceeded with far more care.

NonServiam
7 years ago

Rolling Stone really fucked up. Basic journalism; if the source retracts the story, you have no story. I don’t know Jackie or whatever reasons she had for wanting to stop the story, but they should have been respected.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
7 years ago

She will be a lesson to us. One that we are taught every day from the day we are born.

Bina
7 years ago

Bonus: That ‘winger troll who threatened to dox Jackie? He’s one of Mike Cernovich’s circle-jerk buddies.

catmara
7 years ago

Peoples’ memories of events are imperfect and prone to distortion and confabulation, every law-school undergrad is taught that almost on their first day. These “her story’s changed so she must be lying” types make me sick.

blanktie
blanktie
7 years ago

Hi, can someone please explain why there can’t be legal repercussions for doxxing someone with the intent to do harm to them (basically knowing it will incite a mob)? It sounds like the law is lacking in this regard.

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
7 years ago

@blanktie, I’m guessing it’s because the law takes a while to catch up with technology. If the law doesn’t specifically include doxxing as a form of harassment or incitement to violence, some slippery lawyer will argue that Your Honour, my client committed no crime. Add in the fact that a lot of people, especially older people, still think of the Internet as some ephemeral thing out there that doesn’t really matter or “isn’t real”, and there’s your answer.

blanktie
blanktie
7 years ago

@Cyberwulf, It sounds like the law needs to be changed yesterday then, because it’s become increasingly hard to ignore by anyone who spends even a small amount of time on the internet. I guess ruining someone’s life and making them live in fear isn’t a good enough reason to care though. Is someone going to have to die before anything changes? Ugh. All the bad feels right now. Sorry if I bring anyone down, this is just absolutely horrible and I can’t get this out of my head.

They’re hypocrites, these MRAs & co. They complain non stop about the accused being treated as guilty until proven innocent and then turn around and do the same thing to people who say they are raped. It’s like there’s no room for different realities; either you were raped or you’re a liar.

If you retract your story or drop charges you’re a liar. If there’s lack of evidence/rapist is acquitted, you’re a liar. If you got details that were obtained in a very traumatic moment of your life wrong, you’re a liar. If you misidentified your rapist due to the above situation you’re a liar. Since most rapists are never convicted or even charged, most women (and men) are liars. No inbetween. It’s disgusting.

ccutler
ccutler
7 years ago

For doxxing, it depends on the state. Here’s a partial list of general cyberharassment and cyberstalking laws by state in the US: http://www.ncsl.org/research/telecommunications-and-information-technology/cyberstalking-and-cyberharassment-laws.aspx

The language is not super clear with respect to doxxing specifically, but does cover credible threats, which are a felony in several states.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
7 years ago

I spent years thinking that one foster brother had abused me when I was seven. It was actually the other foster brother. I found out I was misremembering it six years later when the creeper tried to convince me that I enjoyed it so much we should have another go round. I have no idea why I got it so confused aside from living in terror from one day to the next and all that.

Bina
7 years ago

And here are some bons mots from Chuck Johnson, the wanker who would bring down every rape accuser in the history of ever. Seems he is a serial troll. And if that gun in the pic is real, I’d say we’re dealing with a dangerous criminal here.

Sarah
Sarah
7 years ago

@blanktie, yes, yes it is.

@thebewilderness, that’s awful, so sorry you had to go through that.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
7 years ago

Peoples’ memories of events are imperfect and prone to distortion and confabulation, every law-school undergrad is taught that almost on their first day.

People’s memories are especially unreliable if there’s trauma involved. The brain represses things, minimizes, conflates…whatever it has to do in the moment to keep sane. It’s a self-defense mechanism and I’m 100% with you that leveraging it to discredit rape victims is fucking sick.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
7 years ago

OFFICIAL MOD NOTE

Trolls, take your rape apologia and your “false accusation” bullshit elsewhere. I won’t be approving any of it.

Regulars, if someone starts acting up, don’t hesitate to email us.

kittehserf
7 years ago

::points up::

What emilygoddess said.

Rape apologia’s going straight in the trash.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

Are the banned trolls who are trying to post trying to post rape apologia in this thread? Assholes.

Tulgey Logger
Tulgey Logger
7 years ago

I’m reading Dear Prudence’s (Emily Yoffe’s) article on slate on the response of many universities to rape accusations; I also went to feministing just to see if they had anything about it, and wow, I didn’t realize she was so bad on the topic of rape.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/12/college_rape_campus_sexual_assault_is_a_serious_problem_but_the_efforts.html

http://feministing.com/2014/12/08/7-things-you-should-know-about-evidence-in-campus-rape-proceedings/

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

Oh yeah, Yoffe likes to peddle the bullshit theory that rape will magically disappear if those slutty, slutty college women just stop drinking and slutting at bars. Baaaaaaaarf.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

Yoffe is basically the worst when it comes to rape. She’s not that great on other topics, either. I will never forget the letter when a woman wrote to her in clear agony over her mother’s recent death, and Yoffe thought that would be a great time to break out a pile of stupid puns in her answer. That’s pretty much the last time I read Dear Prudence.

goodrumo
7 years ago

Reblogged this on iheariseeilearn.

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