The woman who gave a now-discredited account of a gang rape at the University of Virginia claimed in testimony that “PTSD” has made her memory “foggy” and that she can no longer recall details of her alleged assault.
Jackie, the woman at the center of the gang-rape hoax, told her story to Rolling Stone author Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Erdely’s article has since been retracted by the magazine, which is being sued by a U.Va. dean who claims she was defamed by the article.
Jackie said in her deposition video that she “stand[s] by the account I gave Rolling Stone and I believed it to be true at the time.” Asked if she still believes it is true, Jackie demurred: “I believed it was true but some details of my assault — I have PTSD and it’s foggy.”
Just two years ago, Jackie told Erdely — and the Washington Post — exact details of her assault, details she now claims to have trouble remembering.
For example, the account in Rolling Stone claimed Jackie was raped on top of broken glass (which seems implausible). She said she ran from the fraternity house covered in cuts and that her dress was damaged and covered with blood. When asked during her deposition whether she told Erdely this detail, Jackie claimed she didn’t remember.
Can one get PTSD from a fake assault? Or maybe it was the “trauma” of having her story exposed as false that gave her PTSD?
The Washington Post’s T. Rees Shapiro, who helped uncover Jackie’s deceit, wrote that Jackie “did not address the veracity of her claims of being gang-raped,” and that she “wouldn’t deny” charges that she made up evidence to support her lie.
Instead of denying that she made anything up, including creating text messages from other women she claimed had also been sexually assaulted and inventing the man whom she said orchestrated her gang rape, Jackie just kept saying she didn’t remember.
Jackie also contradicted herself in her deposition, saying at one point that Rolling Stone misconstrued her account of her alleged assault and thinking after the story was published that she “would not have written it that way.” Later in her deposition, she indicated that the account of her alleged assault was correct.
Jackie defended in her deposition U.Va. Dean Nicole Eramo, who is suing Rolling Stone, its publisher and Erdely over the way she was portrayed in the article. Jackie said she wouldn’t describe Eramo as “indifferent” to sexual assault accusers, and that she believed “she cared very much.”
In addition, Jackie said she went to U.Va. administrators before the article’s publication to warn them about “some unflattering facts or unflattering facets of Dean Eramo.” She said she wanted to change those details because “so many students would be lost without [Eramo].”
This contradicts what Jackie told Erdely when the author interviewed her. In that interview, which occurred two months before the article was published, Jackie welcomed bad publicity for her school.
“The only way anything is going to change is with bad publicity,” Jackie said. “And I was like, you know, U.Va. has kind of flown under the radar for so long, and I was like, and I feel like someone has to say something about it, or else, it’s just going to be this system that keeps perpetuating.”
In that same interview, Jackie had also said she wanted to talk to Dean Eramo about something.
So she’s all over the place on this, switching between defending Eramo and wanting bad publicity for the school. She can claim the publicity was toward the school, but that’s a hard argument to make when the accusation was that sexual assault wasn’t taken seriously and Eramo was the person tasked with helping accusers report.
Here’s one of the biggest problems with Jackie’s behavior: She is making things more difficult for real victims of sexual assault. Jackie spent years claiming to be a sexual assault victim and making friends in a support group at U.Va. She’s adopted many of the traits activists claim accusers go through.
Jackie now claims to have PTSD and that she is unable to recall details of her alleged assault, something accusers are said to go through. But other times, Jackie remembers specific details — and even invents minute details like what she was buying at a certain moment to bolster her account — something else accusers can presumably do (the recalling of specific details, not inventing details).
Further, Jackie’s account kept changing, which activists claim can happen with victims, as they either recall more information or feel more comfortable coming forward.
Jackie has adopted these tactics, and she was lying. It will make it more difficult for others to be believed.