Earlier this week I wrote that, due to the half-witted way our society talks about sexual assault, Rolling Stone’s rape article fiasco will happen again. I may have spoken a bit too soon about it happening “again,” given that the Rolling Stone’s fiasco is still happening:
The college students described as friends of the alleged rape victim Jackie in an explosive Rolling Stone article revealed their identities to ABC News today, and said that some of the magazine’s story is false.
“The text was so divergent from what we said that evening,” said Alex Stock, who said he’s identified as “Andy” in the article.
The magazine article describes a violent, three-hour gang rape that left a University of Virginia student identified as Jackie bruised and bloody when she escaped a house on fraternity row, right near the university president’s office.
When her friends, identified by Rolling Stone as “Randall,” “Andy” and “Cindy,” arrived that night, the article says they urged Jackie to keep quiet to keep their social lives intact.
That is not the scene described by Jackie’s friends to ABC News…
Well, who knows? At this point it’s impossible to say what’s true; it’s even impossible to really make an educated guess. For instance, Jackie’s friends might be lying in this case: the original article made them look like monstrous, misogynistic pigs, and it would behoove them to lie through their teeth about how things went down in order to save their own images. Then again, with each passing day, Jackie herself appears to be almost-completely unreliable:
U-Va. officials told The Post that no student with the name Jackie provided to her friends as her date and attacker in 2012 had ever enrolled at the university.
Randall provided The Post with pictures that Jackie’s purported date had sent of himself by text message in 2012. The Post identified the person in the pictures and learned that his name does not match the one Jackie gave friends in 2012. In an interview, the man said he was Jackie’s high school classmate but “never really spoke to her.”
The man said he was never a U-Va. student and is not a member of any fraternity. Additionally, he said that he had not visited Charlottesville in at least six years and that he was in another state participating in an athletic event during the weekend of Sept. 28, 2012.
This does not bode well for Jackie. Prior to this most recent report, the feminist / rape culture activist response was thus: because rape victims experience such trauma due to their being raped, they often have trouble remembering specific details and events leading up to and surrounding their assault; ergo we should not hold Jackie to too high a factual standard in how she recalls her alleged rape. But now there is compelling evidence that Jackie was a liar before she was allegedly raped; if more evidence points to this conclusion, then it will be a damning indictment of Jackie’s reliability altogether. To be sure, this could just be a giant misunderstanding that has befallen the victim of a terrible crime at the worst possible moment—but then again, it could just be evidence that Jackie isn’t to be trusted about anything.
In an insightful piece exploring the flawed feminist response to the entire debacle, Amanda Hess at Slate writes an article titled:
Feminism Can Stand Without Jackie
That’s good news if you’re a feminist, embarrassing news if you’re Jackie. Actually, although Hess’s article is quite good, I think the fairly brutal headline (which she probably didn’t write) is quite misguided: it presupposes that Jackie is the problem, when in fact the problem is more squarely rooted in feminism. Jackie is either a victim, a half-liar caught in a tragic web she partially weaved, or a total fraud—which means she has at least one third of a chance of coming out clean. Modern feminism, on the other hand, is indisputably a rotten and backward ideology, as was clearly shown by the ignorant and narrow-minded feminist response to the article, and as modern feminism has demonstrated time and again. Feminists don’t have to worry about Jackie, but they do have to worry about feminism itself, which has become a self-defeating burden to its own cause.
Meanwhile, the “narrative” surrounding “rape culture” continues to unravel, as was reported by the Federalist yesterday in light of a new Department of Justice study:
The full study, which was published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division within DOJ, found that rather than one in five female college students becoming victims of sexual assault, the actual rate is 6.1 per 1,000 students, or 0.61 percent (instead of 1-in-5, the real number is 0.03-in-5). For non-students, the rate of sexual assault is 7.6 per 1,000 people.
Well, “three-one-hundredths-of-one-in-five” doesn’t sound quite as catchy, so I guess it’s understandable why anti-rape activists wanted to inflate the numbers a bit. Kidding aside, this is great news: the alleged scourge of campus rape turns out to have been wildly overestimated, and we can rest easy knowing that college campuses are nowhere near as dangerous for women as was previously thought. Strangely enough, the feminist response to this wonderful development has been rather muted: you think they’d be delighted that the world is slightly less violent and harmful towards women than it originally appeared. I can’t imagine why they might be so silent on the matter.