Dec 152014
 

The College Rape Club

Ann Coulter
December 11, 2014

Sorry this column is late. I got raped again on the way home. Twice. I should clarify — by “raped,” I mean that two seductive Barry White songs came on the radio, which, according to the University of Virginia, constitutes rape.

TAKE BACK THE NIGHT!

Even the feminist-whipped media parted company with Rolling Stone magazine over Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s story about an alleged fraternity gang-rape at the University of Virginia — since retracted.

But while dismantling every part of this preposterous rape claim by a woman Rolling Stone calls “Jackie,” journalists rush to assure us that “sexual assault at colleges and universities is indeed a serious problem,” as an article in Slate put it.

It would be as if Republicans responded to the apocryphal attack on McCain volunteer Ashley Todd in 2008 by saying, “Physical assaults on McCain volunteers by Obama supporters are indeed a serious problem.”

If we’re in the middle of a college-rape epidemic, why do all the cases liberals promote keep turning out to be hoaxes? Maybe I’m overthinking this, but wouldn’t a real rape be more persuasive?

Instead, all the hair-on-fire college rape stories have been scams: the Duke lacrosse team’s gang-rape of a stripper; Lena Dunham’s rape by Oberlin College’s “resident Republican,” Barry; and Rolling Stone’s fraternity gang-rape at UVA. Two of the three were foisted on the public — and disproved in public — only in the last few weeks.

The only epidemic sweeping the nation seems to be Munchausen rape syndrome. What’s next, college noose hoaxes?

Even Lady Gaga recently claimed she was raped, although, she admitted: “I didn’t even tell myself for the longest time.” How do you not “tell” yourself you’ve been raped?

Rolling Stone’s fantasist rape victim told The Washington Post she didn’t report her rape or go to the hospital because “she was new to campus and unaware of the resources available to her.”

Unaware of the “resources”? Has she heard of “911”?

Who doesn’t report a brutal crime? I had my right arm sawed off by an attacker several years ago, but I was unaware of the resources available to me, so I never pressed charges. I didn’t even admit it to myself until several years later.

Although Jackie had spoken about her rape at a “Take Back the Night” rally, she told the Post that if Rolling Stone’s Erdely hadn’t approached her, “I probably would not have gone public about my rape.”

Except for being imaginary, Jackie’s rape should have been easy to prove. In addition to the fact that she would have been a bloody mess, it was supposed to have happened at a fraternity. That narrows the suspect pool down from “anyone who was in the Charlottesville, Virginia, area on Sept. 28, 2012” to “40 specific guys, 20 percent of whom are, by definition, guilty of rape.”

The zealots aren’t backing down from Jackie’s Lifetime Movie-of-the-Week rape fantasy, even as every single part of it is proved untrue. Her “close friends,” The Washington Post reports, insist that “something traumatic happened to her.”

Similarly, Rolling Stone authoress Erdely told Slate, “There’s no doubt in my mind that something happened to her that night” based on “the degree of (Jackie’s) trauma.” After all, she’s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is taking antidepressants!

Another explanation for her trauma is: Jackie is a nut. Have you considered the possibility that your protagonist is out of her mind?

(The fact that Erdely is an “award-winning” investigative journalist tells you everything you need to know about modern journalism. Of course, her one award was from Rape Hoax Monthly, which should have been a tip-off.)

College must be difficult for white, straight coeds, because it’s so hard to be a victim. You’re not black, you’re not gay, you don’t have leprosy — what can you do to acquire victim cool? Join the rape club!

On college campuses, two millennia of Anglo-Saxon law has been scrapped in deference to sexual assault doctrines that would embarrass Chairman Mao. Young men’s futures are being put in the hands of the most closed-minded, reason-free, quick-to-accuse, unfair, standardless humans on Earth.

I’m sorry we were popular in high school! Can you stop accusing us of rape now?

In penance for publishing a book that falsely accused Oberlin’s Barry of rape, Random House offered to pay his legal fees, suggesting that his law firm “donate all of the crowd-funding raised (to sue Random House) to not-for-profit organizations assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault.”

Heads: Rape hoax hysterics win; tails: Men falsely accused of rape lose. How about donating it to organizations that assist survivors of false rape accusations?

The main threat to college students’ physical and emotional safety these days comes not from athletes or fraternity members, but from the feminists.

Source: http://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/columnists/2014/12/10/coulter-college-rape-club/20217803/

Dec 152014
 

The Great Campus Rape Hoax

Glenn Harlan Reynolds
December 15, 2014

The truth – that rape on campus is becoming less common – doesn’t fit the left’s narrative.

Americans have been living through an enormously sensationalized college rape hoax, but as the evidence accumulates it’s becoming clear that the entire thing was just a bunch of media hype and political opportunism.

No, I’m not talking about the Rolling Stone’s lurid and now-exploded fraternity gang-rape story. Whatever the truth behind that story, it’s now clear that basically nothing that Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely told us happened, actually happened. But the hoax is much bigger than one overwrought and perhaps entirely fictional tale of campus goings-on.

For months we’ve been told that there’s a burgeoning “epidemic” of rape on college campuses, that the system for dealing with campus rape is “broken” and that we need new federal legislation (of course!) to deal with this disaster. Before the Rolling Stone story imploded, Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., were citing the Virginia gang rape as evidence of the problem, but now that the story has been exposed as bogus, they’re telling us that, regardless of that isolated incident, there’s still a huge campus rape problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

And that’s the real college rape hoax. Because the truth is that there’s no epidemic outbreak of college rape. In fact, rape on college campuses is — like rape everywhere else in America — plummeting in frequency. And that 1-in-5 college rape number you keep hearing in the press? It’s thoroughly bogus, too. (Even the authors of that study say that “We don’t think one in five is a nationally representative statistic,” because it sampled only two schools.)

Sen, Gillibrand also says that “women are at a greater risk of sexual assault as soon as they step onto a college campus.”

The truth — and, since she’s a politician, maybe that shouldn’t be such a surprise — is exactly the opposite. According to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the rate of rape and sexual assault is lower for college students (at 6.1 per 1,000) than for non-students (7.6 per 1,000). (Note: not 1 in 5). What’s more, between 1997 and 2013, rape against women dropped by about 50%, in keeping with a more general drop in violent crime nationally.

Upshot: Women on campus aren’t at more risk for sexual assault, and their risk is nothing like the bogus 1-in-5 statistic bandied about by politicians and activists. So why is this non-crisis getting so much press?

It’s getting press because it suits the interests of those pushing the story. For Gillibrand and McCaskill, it’s a woman-related story that helps boost their status as female senators. It ties in with the “war on women” theme that Democrats have been boosting since 2012, and will presumably roll out once again in 2016 in support of Hillary Clinton, or perhaps Elizabeth Warren. And University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan hasn’t apologized for her action in suspending all fraternities (and sororities) on the basis of a bogus story in Rolling Stone. Nor has she apologized for the mob mentality on campus that saw arrests, vandalism and protests at a fraternity house based, again, on a single bogus report. Instead, she’s doubling down on the narrative.

This kind of hysteria may be ugly, but for campus activists and bureaucrats it’s a source of power: If there’s a “campus rape crisis,” that means that we need new rules, bigger budgets, and expanded power and self-importance for all involved, with the added advantage of letting you call your political opponents (or anyone who threatens funding) “pro rape.” If we focus on the truth, however — rapidly declining rape rates already, without any particular “crisis” programs in place — then voters, taxpayers, and university trustees will probably decide to invest resources elsewhere. So for politicians and activists, a phony crisis beats no crisis.

At least until people catch on. As George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf notes, “After a while, the boy who cried wolf wasn’t believed, and the women who cry rape may likewise not be believed, especially with the accusations of rape at Duke University and the University of Virginia fresh in people’s minds.”

Even one rape is too many, of course, on or off of campus. But when activists and politicians try to gin up a phony crisis, public trust is likely to be a major casualty. It’s almost as if helping actual rape victims is the last thing on these people’s minds.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/12/14/campus-rape-uva-crisis-rolling-stone-politics-column/20397277/

Dec 122014
 

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Gina Lauterio
Telephone: 301-801-0608
Email: info@saveservices.org

SAVE Commends Senators Whitehouse and Grassley for Taking Lead to End ‘Second-Class Justice’ in Campus Sexual Assault Cases

WASHINGTON / December 12, 2014 – Stop Abusive and Violent Environments applauds Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Chuck Grassley for taking the initiative to strengthen the involvement of criminal justice authorities in campus sexual assault cases. The senators issued the statements during a December 9 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee that addressed the Roles and Responsibilities of Law Enforcement in Campus Sexual Assault: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/campus-sexual-assault-the-roles-and-responsibilities-of-law-enforcement

In his prepared statement, Sen. Whitehouse noted,

“As a former United States Attorney and Attorney General for my state, I am concerned that law enforcement is being marginalized when it comes to the crime of campus sexual assault. I am concerned that the specter of flawed law enforcement overshadows the harm of marginalized law enforcement.”

Echoing a similar sentiment, Sen. Grassley commented,

“It’s high time to make sure that a crime is a crime wherever it is committed and treated the same way. And when it is treated universally the same way we will have less rape on campuses.”

The current federal policy requires campus disciplinary committees to handle all allegations of sexual assault. This regime has fostered the widespread perception of “second-class justice” at colleges and universities that shortchanges both victims and the accused.

Hundreds of editorials have criticized the campus disciplinary committees because they lack the necessary expertise, independence, and legal authority to adjudicate complex ‘he-said, she-said’ claims, commentators say: www.accusingu.org.

SAVE has drafted the Safety of Our Students (SOS) bill, which would require that campus sexual assault cases be investigated by local law enforcement authorities: http://www.saveservices.org/camp/campus-rape-courts/

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, a 501(c)(3) organization, is working to promote effective solutions to campus sexual assault: http://www.saveservices.org/

Dec 112014
 

Devastating: WaPo Report Strongly Suggests Jackie Made Up the UVA Rape Story Whole Cloth

Allahpundit
December 10, 2014

Like I said on Monday, there are two theories of what happened. Theory A: She made up the whole thing, soup to nuts. Theory B: Something did happen to her, just not what Rolling Stone reported. Somehow, whether due to post-traumatic stress or embellishments offered by Jackie herself or teased out of her by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the actual facts transformed over time into a far-fetched but harrowing account of ritual gang rape on a broken glass table at Phi Kappa Psi, led by a mysterious student lifeguard named “Drew.” The best evidence for Theory B was that her own friends believed her. Her behavior did change dramatically in fall 2012, they said. As one of them told WaPo in tonight’s bombshell, “If she was acting on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, then she deserves an Oscar.”

Is there any way, though, to square Theory A with her apparent distress that night? Maybe. There are too many twists to excerpt all of them here, so read it for yourself. The nutshell version: Jackie told her friends that she was being pursued by a mysterious yet handsome upperclassman in her chemistry class, a guy whom none of them had met but with whom they had exchanged a few e-mails to tease out his interest in Jackie. Oddly enough, the mystery man felt obliged to tell them that he was jealous because he was convinced Jackie wasn’t interested in him but in a fellow “first year.” She accepted his invitation anyway to go to dinner on September 28, 2012.

Allegedly.

Curious about Jackie’s date, the friends said that they failed to locate the student on a U-Va. database and social media. Andy, Cindy and Randall all said they never met the student in person. Before Jackie’s date, the friends said that they became suspicious that perhaps they hadn’t really been in contact with the chemistry student at all.

U-Va. officials told The Post that no student by 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 provided to friends in 2012. In an interview, the man said that he was Jackie’s high school classmate but that he “never really spoke to her.”…

After the alleged attack, the man who Jackie said had taken her on the date wrote an e-mail to Randall, passing along praise that Jackie apparently had for him.

Randall said that it is apparent to him that he is the “first year,” the chemistry student described in text messages, since he had rebuffed Jackie’s advances.
Clearly, WaPo thinks Jackie made up the story of the mystery man to try to make Randall jealous, and when it didn’t work, she allegedly made up the story of the rape to gain his sympathy. Randall was, in fact, one of the three students whom she called on the night of the alleged rape to comfort her. In fact, the name of the mystery man that she gave to Randall and other friends in late 2012 didn’t match the name that she gave to other friends more recently about who supposedly attacked her that night. “Drew,” the man named in the Rolling Stone piece, did work as a lifeguard but insists he never met her and isn’t a member of Phi Kappa Psi. If all of that is true, it means she falsely accused not one but two innocent men of being ringleaders for a gang rape.

And why didn’t ace reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely and the crack Rolling Stone fact-checking team find this out? Easy, silly: According to all three of the friends who comforted Jackie on the night of her “rape,” including Randall, Erdely never contacted them. She evidently preferred to smear them by taking Jackie’s word for it that they were callous to her, worried more about their own access to future frat parties than having Jackie go to the police. (In hindsight, you wonder if that portrayal of Randall wasn’t Jackie’s revenge on him for rejecting her.) Brace yourself for this:

The Rolling Stone article also said that Randall declined to be interviewed, “citing his loyalty to his own frat.” He told The Post that he never was contacted by Rolling Stone and would have agreed to an interview.
How did Erdely end up under the impression that Randall “declined” to be interviewed if, as he says, she never approached him? And why didn’t she approach him? Rolling Stone’s excuse for not contacting “Drew” for his side of the story was that rape victims often insist that reporters not approach their attackers for fear of reprisal. But what’s the excuse for not contacting Randall and the other two friends?

Two remaining points here. One: Trust no Penn graduates from the class of 1994. Two: Remembering Jackie’s distress on the night of September 28, 2012, Randall tells WaPo, “She had very clearly just experienced a horrific trauma… I had never seen anybody acting like she was on that night before and I really hope I never have to again.” Does he think that something did happen to her, somewhere at the hands of someone, or does he mean to imply that she’s disturbed enough to have worked herself into a believable frenzy to try to get his attention? I don’t know what to make of that and the “Oscar” line mentioned above.

Source: http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/10/devastating-wapo-report-strongly-suggests-jackie-made-up-the-uva-rape-story-whole-cloth/

Dec 102014
 

Few U.S. Campus Sex Assaults Reported to Police

Kimberly Hefling
December 10, 2014

WASHINGTON – Only a fraction of American campus sexual assault victims go to police. U.S. senators on Tuesday grappled with the thorny issue of why some just let their university handle it — or don’t report it at all.

Some sexual assault victims have said they prefer to work within their university system to seek disciplinary action against the perpetrator, such as expulsion, without the stress of pressing criminal charges. But there have been complaints that universities have encouraged victims not to seek criminal action because they want to protect the university’s reputation or that schools aren’t prepared to adequately adjudicate such cases.

The hearing, focused on the relationship between police departments and campuses, comes after a high-profile Rolling Stone article that described a gang rape alleged to have occurred in a fraternity house at the University of Virginia. The magazine later acknowledged mistakes in its reporting, but it had already prompted a national discussion on how universities handle sexual assaults.

Reports of sexual assault on campus rose 50 percent from 2009 to 2012, said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, the Democratic subcommittee chairman, citing federal data. He said the vast majority of offenses go unreported. Statistics show that 1 in 5 women is assaulted during their college years. The Obama administration has taken steps in the last year to highlight the problem and to pressure universities to better assist victims.

In many cases, victims aren’t told they can pursue a criminal case, testified Peg Langhammer, executive director of the Day One organization in Providence, Rhode Island.

Whitehouse said victims are victimized again if they are steered away from law enforcement based on uninformed choices. Whitehouse, a former U.S. attorney and Rhode Island attorney general, said evidence shows that most men who commit these crimes are serial offenders — and a threat to public safety.

On campuses, there’s often no clearly identified place for a victim to seek help, testified Angela Fleischer, assistant director of student support and intervention for confidential advising at Southern Oregon University, which links law enforcement and campus administrators in cases of sexual assault.

Many schools have their own police forces, but their role varies from campus to campus. About a third of schools said campus police and security guards weren’t required to be trained to respond to reports of sexual violence, according to a survey released earlier this year by Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

She said that the criminal justice system has been “very bad” in its handling of victims — much worse than the military or campuses — and that has left many victims’ advocates with the belief that campus sexual assault cases are better handled within a university’s system.

Both McCaskill and Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said they are concerned that the Rolling Stone story may be held up as a reason not to believe survivors when they come forward. McCaskill called it “bad journalism” and said rape is not a crime with rampant false reporting by victims.

Source: http://www.fdlreporter.com/story/news/local/2014/12/10/us-campus-sex-assaults-reported-police/20221165/

Dec 102014
 
m4s0n501

What About the Police?

Jake New
December 10, 2014

WASHINGTON — Colleges’ mishandling of sexual assault may continue to occupy the national spotlight, but the criminal justice system has done a worse job supporting and addressing the needs of victims, Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said during a U.S. Senate hearing here Tuesday.

The hearing, held by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, focused on finding ways to inspire campus sexual assault survivors to have more confidence in law enforcement so that they don’t, as McCaskill said, “take the default position that they’d be better off just pursuing the Title IX option.”

Panelists and senators stressed that such a decision should remain up to the victim, but said that too often survivors – either through discouragement from their college or their own disillusionment with law enforcement – think of Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination law that requires colleges to investigate campus sexual assaults, as their only option for finding justice.

“I am concerned that law enforcement is being marginalized when it comes to the crime of campus sexual assault,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and the chairman of the subcommittee, said. “I’m concerned that the specter of flawed law enforcement overshadows the harm of marginalized law enforcement.”

Whitehouse said he hoped the hearing would “help inform” the work of senators, including McCaskill, who are fine-tuning the Campus Accountability and Safety Act introduced earlier this year. The bill requires every college to create a “memorandum of understanding” with local law enforcement. But some campus safety officials said such a requirement may not go far enough and places an unfair burden on colleges.

Establishing clear lines of communication between law enforcement agencies and campuses is important, but a “memorandum of understanding is not a panacea,” said Kathy Zoner, chief of police at Cornell University and a panelist at the hearing.
“It can be helpful, but entering one isn’t always possible,” Zoner said, adding that some colleges must interact with multiple agencies with competing jurisdictions. “There’s no guarantee that local law enforcement will even cooperate with a memorandum of understanding.”

Different Goals

Under the proposed legislation, institutions that don’t obtain a memorandum of understanding could be penalized up to 1 percent of the college’s operating budget, a sanction Zoner said is too aggressive for such a complicated process. Earlier in the hearing, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill, stood by the requirement. She said it was “shocking” that one didn’t already exist, and said such a requirement would “serve to flip the current incentives for colleges and universities that would rather sweep these reports under the rug.”

While the mandate does allow the U.S. Department of Education to waive the penalty if a college can prove it demonstrated a good-faith effort, Zoner said the legislation gives too much discretion to the department — particularly as its Office for Civil Rights would get to keep whatever fine it imposed. There are other points of friction between the responsibilities of law enforcement and those of a college that complicate such a partnership, as well, panelists said.
McCaskill said the interactions were often “a complicated thicket” of issues. Campuses and law enforcement agencies use different burdens of proofs and standards of evidence. The length of the investigations vary greatly, with a criminal investigation often taking far longer than what the Education Department expects from colleges.

And the two kinds of investigations often have different end goals — college adjudication processes under Title IX are about the safety, civil rights and well-being of a particular student, while criminal investigations and trials are about the prevention of further crimes and prosecution of those guilty of the crime. Because of that difference, said Peg Langhammer, executive director of Rhode Island’s sexual assault coalition Day One, “campus-based adjudication processes, as they stand now, don’t work.”
Too many students are found responsible for sexual assault, Langhammer said, only to transfer to another institution and assault again.

“Colleges alone are not competent enough to handle the investigation and prosecution of these cases, and nor should they be,” she said. “There must be integration between the two. The question is, how can we create a system where the victim’s choices are the priority and where the option of reporting is a viable one?”
One possible solution to that question could be the “Campus Choice Program” at Southern Oregon University, which both panelists and senators praised at the hearing. Campus Choice provides students with an opportunity to seek information and options through a confidential adviser who is well-trained in both the criminal justice system and Title IX. The adviser is exempt from the Title IX reporting process. The program also requires anyone who interviews a victim to be trained in “trauma-informed” interviewing techniques.

This all allows the process to move at a slower, more victim-focused pace, said Angela Fleischer, assistant director of student support and intervention for confidential advising at the university. If a student chooses to report the crime to law enforcement, which the university encourages, Fleischer accompanies the student through the entire criminal justice process. The student is encouraged to talk to the police, even if he or she doesn’t wish to pursue charges, which can at least provide law enforcement with details that can be helpful if the accused turns out to be a repeat offender.
More than three-quarters of the cases that pass through Southern Oregon’s confidential advising program now involve interaction with law enforcement, Fleischer said.

“Most of the students are now at least exploring that option and the police department has the name and information of these offenders,” she said. “Just giving information to law enforcement in the first place is highly valuable.”

Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/12/10/senate-hearing-explores-law-enforcements-role-campus-sexual-assault

Dec 102014
 

Rolling Stone’s UVA Rape Story Just Took Another Massive Hit

Robby Soave
December 10, 2014

The Washington Post just published another investigative report on the University of Virginia gang rape allegations—and whatever credibility Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Rolling Stone had left is totally obliterated.

WaPost spoke with the three friends who rescued Jackie after her alleged gang rape on September 28, 2012. The details they provided depart significantly from Jackie’s narrative as reported by Erdely. The friends told WaPost that Jackie did not appear battered or bloodied and gave a description of the attack significantly different than what was later published in Rolling Stone. They also clarified that it was Jackie who didn’t want to go to the police, not them:

The scene with her friends was pivotal in the article, as it alleged that the friends were callously apathetic about a beaten, bloodied, injured classmate reporting a brutal gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The account alleged that the students worried about the effect it might have on their social status, how it might reflect on Jackie during the rest of her collegiate career, and how they suggested not reporting it. It set up the article’s theme: That U-Va. has a culture that is indifferent to rape.

“It didn’t happen that way at all,” Andy said.

Instead, the friends remember being shocked. Though they did not notice any blood or visible injuries, they said they immediately urged Jackie to speak to police and insisted that they find her help. Instead, they said, Jackie declined and asked to be taken back to her dorm room. They went with her — two of them said they spent the night — seeking to comfort Jackie in what appeared to be a moment of extreme turmoil.

Erdely portrayed Jackie’s friends as popularity-obsessed sociopaths who deterred her from reporting the assault. They say that’s not true; it was Jackie who didn’t want to report it.

That may seem damning, but it’s just the beginning. According to the friends, Jackie did name her attacker, but no one by that name attended UVA. Pictures of the attacker—the man Jackie claimed was a UVA junior who had asked her out on a date—that she provided to the friends were actually pictures of a former high school classmate who never attended UVA and “hasn’t been to Charlottesville in at least six years.” His name is not the one Jackie gave her friends. These details were all verified by WaPost.

Here’s the timeline, according to the friends:

The three friends said that Jackie soon began talking about a handsome junior from chemistry class who had a crush on her and had been asking her out on dates.

Intrigued, Jackie’s friends got his phone number from her and began exchanging text messages with the mysterious upperclassman. He then raved to them about “this super smart hot,” freshman who shared his love of the band Coheed and Cambria, according to the texts, which were provided to The Post. …

Jackie told her three friends that she accepted the upperclassman’s invitation for a dinner date on Friday Sept. 28, 2012.

Curious about Jackie’s date, the friends said that they failed to locate the student on a U-Va. database and social media. Andy, Cindy and Randall all said they never met the student in person. Before Jackie’s date, the friends said that they became suspicious that perhaps they hadn’t really been in contact with the chemistry student at all.

U-Va. officials told The Post that no student by 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 provided to friends in 2012. In an interview, the man said that he was Jackie’s high school classmate but that he “never really spoke to her.”

The man said that he was never a U-Va. student and is not a member of any fraternity. Additionally, the man 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.

If the friends’ narrative is accurate, it seems doubtful that “Drew” exists at all, and is instead the product of some kind of catfishing situation. Compare that with Rolling Stone editor Sean Woods’ initial claim that “I’m satisfied that [the perpetrators] exist and are real. We knew who they were.”

One of the friends, “Randall,” also told WaPost that Erdely lied when she wrote that he declined to be interviewed because of “loyalty to his own frat.” Randall said he would have gladly given an interview but was never contacted.

The friends quoted in the latest article still say Jackie’s changed behavior that first semester is evidence of some trauma she sustained. That may be true, although it is difficult to say what, exactly, that might have entailed. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest such a trauma bears any resemblance to the incredible story told by Rolling Stone.

Lest anyone think that this debacle is solely the fault of someone who falsely claimed rape, keep in mind that these fraudulent charges were put forth by a national magazine that made no effort to verify them, and ignored every red flag in its haste to publish the story of the century—even when Jackie refused to name her attackers and attempted to withdraw her story. Whatever the truth is—whatever the excellent reporters at WaPost manage to uncover next—the fact remains that Rolling Stone and Erdely should have known better.

The degree to which everyone involved in this travesty of journalism failed at their jobs is almost unbelievable. But unlike the story of a gang rape at UVA, we now have incontrovertible proof of it.

Source: http://reason.com/blog/2014/12/10/rolling-stones-uva-rape-story-just-took

Dec 102014
 

U-Va. Students Challenge Rolling Stone Account of Attack

T. Rees Shapiro
December 10, 2014

It was 1 a.m. on a Saturday when the call came. A friend, a University of Virginia freshman who earlier said she had a date that evening with a handsome junior from her chemistry class, was in hysterics. Something bad had happened.

Arriving at her side, three students —“Randall,” “Andy” and “Cindy” as they were identified in an explosive Rolling Stone account — told The Washington Post that they found their friend in tears. Jackie appeared traumatized, saying her date ended horrifically, with the older student parking his car at his fraternity, asking her to come inside, and then forcing her to perform oral sex on a group of five men.

In their first interviews about the events of that September 2012 night, the three friends separately told The Post that their recollections of the encounter diverge from how Rolling Stone portrayed the incident in a story about Jackie’s alleged gang rape at a U-Va. fraternity. The interviews also provide a richer account of Jackie’s interactions immediately after the alleged attack, and suggest that the friends are skeptical of her account.

The scene with her friends was pivotal in the article, as it alleged that the friends were callously apathetic about a beaten, bloodied, injured classmate reporting a brutal gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The account alleged that the students worried about the effect it might have on their social status, how it might reflect on Jackie during the rest of her collegiate career, and how they suggested not reporting it. It set up the article’s theme: That U-Va. has a culture that is indifferent to rape.

“It didn’t happen that way at all,” Andy said.

Students held a candlelight vigil to raise awareness on sexual assault Friday night as Rolling Stone cited “discrepancies” in an article that reported a gang rape in a campus fraternity. (Reuters)
Instead, the friends remember being shocked. Though they did not notice any blood or visible injuries, they said they immediately urged Jackie to speak to police and insisted that they find her help. Instead, they said, Jackie declined and asked to be taken back to her dorm room. They went with her — two of them said they spent the night — seeking to comfort Jackie in what appeared to be a moment of extreme turmoil.

“I mean obviously we were very concerned for her,” Andy said. “We tried to be as supportive as we could be.”

The three students agreed to be interviewed on the condition that The Post use the same aliases as appeared in Rolling Stone because of the sensitivity of the subject.

They said there are mounting inconsistencies with the original narrative in the magazine. The students also expressed suspicions about Jackie’s allegations from that night. They said the name she provided as that of her date did not match anyone at the university, and U-Va. officials confirmed to The Post that no one by that name has attended the school.

And photographs that were texted to one of the friends showing her date that night actually were pictures depicting one of Jackie’s high school classmates in Northern Virginia. That man, now a junior at a university in another state, confirmed that the photographs are of him and said he barely knew Jackie and hasn’t been to Charlottesville for at least six years.

The friends said they never were contacted or interviewed by the pop culture magazine’s reporters or editors. Though vilified in the article as coldly indifferent to Jackie’s ordeal, the students said they cared deeply about their friend’s well-being and safety. Randall said that they made every effort to help Jackie that night.

“She had very clearly just experienced a horrific trauma,” Randall said. “I had never seen anybody acting like she was on that night before and I really hope I never have to again. … If she was acting on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, then she deserves an Oscar.”

U-Va. timeline
They also said Jackie’s description of what happened to her that night differs from what she told Rolling Stone. In addition, information that Jackie gave the three friends about one of her attackers, called “Drew” in Rolling Stone, differed significantly from details she later told The Post, Rolling Stone and friends from sexual assault awareness groups on campus. The three said Jackie did not specifically identify a fraternity that night.

The Rolling Stone article also said that Randall declined to be interviewed, “citing his loyalty to his own frat.” He told The Post that he never was contacted by Rolling Stone and would have agreed to an interview. The article’s writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not respond to requests for comment this week.

Rolling Stone also declined to comment, citing an internal review of the story. The magazine has apologized for inaccuracies and discrepancies in the published report.

The 9,000-word Rolling Stone article appeared online in late November and led with the brutal account of Jackie’s alleged sexual assault. In the article, Jackie said she attended a date function at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in the fall of 2012 with a lifeguard she said she met at the university pool. During the party, Jackie said her date “Drew” lured her into a dark room where seven men gang-raped her in an attack that left her bloodied and injured. In earlier interviews with The Post, Jackie stood by the account she provided to Rolling Stone.

Palma Pustilnik, a lawyer representing Jackie, issued a statement Wednesday morning asking that journalists refrain from contacting Jackie or her family. The Post generally does not identify victims of sexual assaults and has used Jackie’s real nickname at her request.

“As I am sure you all can understand, all of this has been very stressful, overwhelming and retraumatizing for Jackie and her family,” Pustilnik said. She declined to answer specific questions or to elaborate in a brief interview Wednesday.

*****

Randall said that he met Jackie shortly after arriving at U-Va. in fall 2012, and the two struck up a quick friendship. He said Jackie was interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with him; he valued her friendship but wasn’t interested in more.

The three friends said that Jackie soon began talking about a handsome junior from chemistry class who had a crush on her and had been asking her out on dates.

Intrigued, Jackie’s friends got his phone number from her and began exchanging text messages with the mysterious upperclassman. He then raved to them about “this super smart hot,” freshman who shared his love of the band Coheed and Cambria, according to the texts, which were provided to The Post.

“I really like this girl,” the chemistry student wrote in one message. Some of the messages included photographs of a man with a sculpted jawline and ocean-blue eyes.

In the text messages, the student wrote that he was jealous that another student had apparently won Jackie’s attention.

“Get this she said she likes some other 1st year guy who dosnt like her and turned her down but she wont date me cause she likes him,” the chemistry student wrote. “She cant turn my down fro some nerd 1st yr. she said this kid is smart and funny and worth it.”

Jackie told her three friends that she accepted the upperclassman’s invitation for a dinner date on Friday Sept. 28, 2012.

Curious about Jackie’s date, the friends said that they failed to locate the student on a U-Va. database and social media. Andy, Cindy and Randall all said they never met the student in person. Before Jackie’s date, the friends said that they became suspicious that perhaps they hadn’t really been in contact with the chemistry student at all.

U-Va. officials told The Post that no student by 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 provided to friends in 2012. In an interview, the man said that he was Jackie’s high school classmate but that he “never really spoke to her.”

The man said that he was never a U-Va. student and is not a member of any fraternity. Additionally, the man 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.

“I have nothing to do with it,” he said. He said it appears the photos that were circulated were pulled from social media Web sites.

After the alleged attack, the man who Jackie said had taken her on the date wrote an e-mail to Randall, passing along praise that Jackie apparently had for him.

Randall said that it is apparent to him that he is the “first year” student that the chemistry upperclassman described in text messages, since he had rebuffed Jackie’s advances.

******

Jackie ultimately told her harrowing account to sexual assault prevention groups on campus and spoke to university officials about it, though she said in interviews that she was always reluctant to identify an attacker and never felt ready to report it to police. In interviews she acknowledged that a police investigation now would be unlikely to yield criminal charges because of a lack of forensic evidence.

Emily Renda, a 2014 U-Va. graduate who survived a rape during her freshman year and now works for the university as a sexual violence specialist, has told The Post that she met Jackie in the fall of 2013. Renda said that, at the time, Jackie told her that she had been attacked by five students at Phi Kappa Psi. Renda said she learned months later that the number of perpetrators had changed to seven.

The Rolling Stone article, which appeared on the magazine’s Web site last month, roiled campus and set off protests, vandalism and self-reflection. U-Va. officials responded to the article by suspending the university’s Greek system until early January and promoting a broader discussion on campus about sexual assault and campus safety. University officials have declined to comment on the specifics of the allegations and the article.

In an interview Tuesday, university president Teresa A. Sullivan said that her administration will continue to cooperate with authorities to investigate the case; she wants the university community to focus on prevention of sexual assault.

Charlottesville City police Capt. Gary Pleasants said that detectives are looking into the allegations at the request of the university. Andy and Randall said they both have spoken to police about the case since the Rolling Stone article published.

“The investigation is continuing,” Pleasants said.

Last week, Jackie for the first time revealed a name of her alleged attacker to other friends who had known her more recently, those recent friends said. That name was different from the name she gave Andy, Cindy and Randall that first night. All three said that they had never heard the second name before it was given to them by a reporter.

On Friday, The Post interviewed a man whose name is similar to the second one Jackie used for her attacker. He said that while he did work as a lifeguard at the same time as Jackie, he had never met her in person and had never taken her out on a date. He also said that he was not a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

The fraternity at the center of the Rolling Stone allegations has said that it did not host any registered social event on the weekend of Sept. 28, 2012, and it said in a statement that no members of Phi Kappa Psi at the time worked at the campus Aquatic and Fitness Center. A lawyer who has represented the fraternity said that no member of the fraternity at the time matched a description of “Drew” given by Jackie to The Post and to Rolling Stone.

In interviews, some of Jackie’s closest friends said they believe she suffered a horrific trauma during her freshman year, but others have expressed doubts about the account.

“I definitely believe she was sexually assaulted,” said U-Va. junior Alex Pinkleton, a sexual violence peer advocate who survived a rape and an attempted rape her first two years on campus and is a close friend of Jackie’s. “The main message we want to come out of all this is that sexual assault is a problem nationwide that we need to act in preventing. It has never been about one story. This is about the thousands of women and men who have been victims of sexual assault and have felt silenced not only by their perpetrators, but by society’s misunderstanding and stigmatization of rape.”

Rachel Soltis, who lived with Jackie during their freshman year, said that her suite mate appeared depressed and stopped going to classes. Andy, Cindy and Randall all said that Jackie’s behavior clearly changed that semester.

Jackie said in interviews last week that she wants to use her ordeal to help focus more resources on survivors to augment existing prevention efforts. She said that she wants to pursue a career in social work, helping others recover from sexual assaults.

“I didn’t think it could ever happen to me and then it did and I had to deal with it,” Jackie said. “I didn’t think things like this happened in the real world. Maybe now another freshman girl will decide not to go into a room with someone they don’t know very well.”

Nick Anderson in Charlottesville, Jennifer Jenkins and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

This story has been updated.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/u-va-students-challenge-rolling-stone-account-of-attack/2014/12/10/ef345e42-7fcb-11e4-81fd-8c4814dfa9d7_story.html?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost

Dec 092014
 

The UVA Story Unravels: Feminist Agitprop and Rape-Hoax Denialism

Cathy Young
December 8, 2014

We will almost certainly never know for sure what actually happened to Jackie, the troubled young woman at the center of the now-discredited Rolling Stone tale of rape and impunity at the University of Virginia that riveted the nation for two weeks before it came apart. She may be a mentally ill fantasist; she may have experienced a less brutal sexual assault and either deliberately exaggerated or sincerely reimagined it as the grotesque horror she recounted to writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely; she may have suffered some other trauma. Many fear that the story’s undoing may hurt the credibility of real rape victims, and one can only hope that doesn’t happen. But the UVA fiasco should destroy the credibility of the feminist crusade against “rape culture,” whose virulent zealotry and disregard for truth have been starkly exposed by this scandal.

The uncritical rush to embrace of Rolling Stone story attests to the toxic climate created by this crusade. Erdely’s article should have quickly set off alarm bells (mine went off on the second reading). The preplanned initiation-ritual gang rape in which “Clockwork Orange”-level ultraviolence meets “Silence of the Lambs” (“Grab its motherf—–g leg,” yells one of the men); the reaction of the victim’s friends who see her disheveled and bloodied yet talk her out of going to the police or to the hospital because being “the girl who cried rape” would carry a social stigma; the nonchalance of the frat boy who casually chats her up shortly after engineering the attack—it all seems highly implausible, reading more like a rape-culture morality tale than a factual account. And that’s not even to mention the fact that Jackie supposedly endured three hours of rape while lying on sharp shards of glass from a smashed coffee table; or that later, when she had become an anti-rape activist on campus, a man supposedly threw a beer bottle at her as she walked past a bar and it broke on the side of her face but left only a bruise.

When critical scrutiny finally began, much of it focused on Erdely’s failure to even attempt to contact any of the alleged rapists for their side of the story (a subject on which she was peculiarly evasive in interviews). Yet the story was riddled with other problems.

For instance: It was fairly clear that Erdely had not interviewed any of the three friends, two men and one woman, who had allegedly picked up a bruised, blood-spattered, hysterical Jackie after the gang rape. She wrote that one of them refused an interview, “citing loyalty to his own frat” (a rather baffling explanation, as noted by Worth editor-in-chief Richard Bradley, the first journalist to publicly question the Rolling Stone account). But what about the other two?

Erdely did quote one of Jackie’s suitemates that semester, Rachel Soltis, who described her as growing depressed and withdrawn after the alleged incident. But there was a crucial piece of missing information: did Soltis see any of Jackie’s injuries, including cuts from the glass and presumably hard-to-conceal bruising from being punched in the face?

Thanks to real reporting by The Washington Post, we now know Soltis noticed no injuries on Jackie. We also know that one of Jackie’s three ex-friends confirms they came to her aid after a distress call; but he says that she was uninjured, and that at the time she claimed to have been “forced to have oral sex with a group of men” at a fraternity party. (Is that what really happened? Again, at this point it’s unlikely we’ll ever know.) He also says she was the one who refused offers of help.

That, by the way, highlights another huge and obvious problem with the Rolling Stone article. The story was presented as an account not only of rape, but of justice denied. The subhead read, “Jackie was just starting her freshman year at the University of Virginia when she was brutally assaulted by seven men at a frat party. When she tried to hold them accountable, a whole new kind of abuse began.” Yet the narrative itself makes clear that even in her own telling, Jackie never tried to hold anyone accountable. She never went to the police and waited more than six months to report the alleged attack to UVA’s dean for sexual misconduct, Nicole Eramo. She was informed of several options that included filing a police report and initiating a disciplinary complaint, but chose to do nothing—despite a follow-up email from the dean, offering assistance “if you decide that you would like to hold these men accountable.” Even more incredibly, we’re told that Jackie went back to Dean Eramo a year later to share that she had learned of two other women being raped at the same fraternity—but still “didn’t feel ready to file a complaint.”

This aspect of the story was consistently downplayed in the outcry over the Rolling Stone article. Indeed, Anna Merlan of the feminist blog Jezebel asserted, in her first post on the story, that Jackie was “discouraged from reporting the rape by both her friends and the school.” (Merlan later heaped scorn on the heretics who questioned the story, namely Bradley and Reason’s Robby Soave; she at least had enough class to apologize when it unraveled, though not enough to refrain from a snarky tweet dismissing Soave’s assertion that he was sincerely glad this terrible crime hadn’t happened.)

Even if people were initially swept up in the story’s emotion and in Erdely’s dramatic narration, their critical faculties should have kicked back in once Bradley and other skeptics such as began to raise uncomfortable questions—and feminists such as Slate’s Hanna Rosin and Allison Benedikt began to voice concern about Erdely’s shoddy reporting. Instead, the New York Times tried to circle the wagons, finding a couple of journalism professors who were willing to defending Rolling Stone’s methods. And the feminist media set about shooting the messenger. On Twitter, Amanda Marcotte blasted “rape apologists” attempting to “derail” the conversation with their talk of a hoax at UVA and asserted that Erdely’s story would have been attacked no matter how thorough a job she had done. (She even not-so-subtly insinuated that the “rape denialist movement” is driven by men who are themselves rapists.) The same themes were echoed in a rant by Katie McDonough in Salon, who grudgingly acknowledged that Erdely’s article was flawed but still denounced the criticism as “rape denial” and expressed resentment at “being expected to treat every person who says hey no fair when a survivor speaks or a damning report is published as if these are all serious and credible concerns.” On a slightly more moderate note, New York’s Kate Stoeffel fretted that all the questioning feels like “presumed innocence is a privilege reserved for purported rapists and not their purported victims” and asked, “To what end are we scrutinizing?”

That was before the Post debunked the story and Rolling Stone disowned it. And after that? Well, there’s this tweet from Marcotte: “Interesting how rape apologists think that if they can ‘discredit’ one rape story, that means no other rape stories can be true, either.” Needless to say, she does not give an example of a single person who believes that rape never happens.

As the quotation marks indicate, Marcotte does not actually believe Jackie is discredited. Appearing on HuffPost Live, both she and fellow writer/activist Soraya Chemaly pushed the idea that the “discrepancies” in her story—including the fact that the man she named as the chief rapist had never been in Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity where the gang rape allegedly took place—were due to trauma-related memory loss and that Jackie may have been raped at a different frat. (Never mind that she was apparently emphatic about the specific fraternity, or that her claim of learning about more sexual assaults at the same frat is a key part of the story.) It seems that, in an attempt to deny the UVA rape hoax and exonerate Jackie of lying, some feminists are willing to suggest that women’s true accounts of sexual victimization are inherently unreliable. Talk about throwing victims under the bus.

The argument that Jackie’s unreliable accounts of her rape are the natural result of trauma is echoed in The Washington Post by lawyer and political analyst Zerlina Maxwell—even though the article she cites on trauma and memory suggests that intrusive memories, not massive memory distortion, are the most likely effect. Maxwell also wants all reports of rape to be treated as presumptively true, though maybe not in an actual court of law. And in The Guardian, Jessica Valenti goes so far as to declare, “I choose to believe Jackie.” This is feminism as a religious cult, embracing the principle of early Church father Tertullian: “Credo quia absurdum”—I believe because it’s absurd.

Some other feminists are quite openly suggesting that we shouldn’t let facts get in the way. “So what if this instance was more fictional than fact and didn’t actually happen to Jackie? Do we actually want anyone to have gone through this? This story was a shock and awe campaign that forced even the most ardent of rape culture deniers to stand up in horror and demand action,” writes Katie Racine, the founder of the online women’s magazine Literally, Darling, in an essay reprinted in The Huffington Post. (A mostly fictional story is beneficial because it proved to “rape culture deniers” that rape culture exists? Literally, darling, this may be the dumbest thing anyone has said about the UVA story.) And in Politico, UVA student journalist Julia Horowitz opines that “to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake,” since Jackie’s likely fabrication points to a bigger truth. That is not journalism; it’s agitprop.

And what is that bigger truth? Horowitz quotes a first-year student who says, “These events undoubtedly do occur here.” What events? Premeditated ambush gang rapes and beatings that are dismissed as trivial “bad experiences” by other students despite leaving the victims bloodied and battered, and are brushed aside by complacent administrators? That’s extremely doubtful.

Horowitz asserts that one in five women are sexually assaulted during their college years. Mother Jones invokes the same one-in-five statistic as the deeper truth behind the Rolling Stone story. Yet the surveys from which this number is derived routinely conflate regretted drunk sex with sexual assault, and most of the women labeled as victims do not believe they were raped. As Mother Jones’ own infographics show, the primary reasons these women don’t report their purported assaults to the police or other authorities is that they don’t think it was a serious enough matter to report, or believe that they were at least partly responsible for the unwanted sex, or don’t think what happened was a crime.

Yes, rape happens—on campuses and elsewhere. Methodologically sound surveys by the Bureau of Justice Statistics have found that from 1995 to 2002, an average of about six per 1,000 female college students a year became victims of sexual assault. Assuming that a woman’s risk of being assaulted is the same in every year of college, that means two to three percent of female students become victims over the course of their school years. That’s nothing to be dismissive about. But it is hardly an epidemic, or a pervasive “culture of rape.”

Let us by all means have victim advocacy—fact-based, and capable of supporting women or men who report sexual assaults without trying to destroy the presumption of innocence. But let’s say no to the witch-hunts. If the UVA debacle brings back some sanity on the subject of rape, the hoax will have actually served a good cause—just not the one its promoters intended.

Source: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/12/08/the_uva_story_unravels_feminist_agitprop_and_rape-hoax_denialism_124891.html#ixzz3LSdiHWes

Dec 092014
 

Lessons of Rolling Stone’s UVA Catastrophe: We Can’t Prevent Rape If We’re Deluded About It

Robby Soave
December 9, 2014

Suppose Jackie’s story was not so incredible. Suppose that premeditated, ritualistic gang rape was a plausible occurrence at the average college. Suppose that one in every five—or four, or three—female students found themselves in serious danger of assault the moment they set foot outside their dorm rooms. Suppose that America’s campuses really did rival Somalia in terms of the violence faced by young women.

Would it be enough to merely place a moratorium on Greek activity, form a task force, and defend the actions of administrators who failed to report rape to the police, as University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan has done (arguably in violation of the Constitution)?

Of course not.

On the other hand, suppose the details of Jackie’s story were exaggerated, or in doubt. Suppose that premeditated, ritualistic gang rape was highly implausible. Suppose that cherry-picked statistics from a few unrepresentative studies were clearly masking an extraordinary decline in rape rates nationwide over the past few decades. Suppose the best available evidence suggested that campuses were, on the whole, safer for women than other environments. Suppose that campus sexual assaults were largely the work of a few sociopaths and nearly always the result of alcohol-induced incapacitation.

Wouldn’t the supposed solution to the campus rape crisis look markedly different?

In a major magazine story that succeeds on all the levels Rolling Stone’s failed, Slate’s Emily Yoffe argues persuasively that we live in the latter world. Confusion about the prevalence of rape and its proximate causes—confusion that Rolling Stone has only worsened—has driven governments and universities to greatly mishandle sexual assault by mandating solutions that wrongly evaluate the scope of the problem while needlessly violating civil liberties, from due process to freedom of association.

Yoffe quickly cuts through the hyperbole about surging assault rates and discovers that college campuses aren’t nearly as dangerous as we have let ourselves believe:

Being young does make people more vulnerable to serious violent crime, including sexual assault; according to government statistics those aged 18 to 24 have the highest rates of such victimization. But most studies don’t compare the victimization rates of students to nonstudents of the same age. One recent paper that does make that comparison, “Violence Against College Women” by Callie Marie Rennison and Lynn Addington, compares the crime experienced by college students and their peers who are not in college, using data from the National Crime Victimization Survey. What the researchers found was the opposite of what Gillibrand says about the dangers of campuses: “Non-student females are victims of violence at rates 1.7 times greater than are college females,” the authors wrote, and this greater victimization holds true for sex crimes: “Even if the definition of violence were limited to sexual assaults, these crimes are more pervasive for young adult women who are not in college.”

Rennison, an associate professor at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver, recognized in an interview that her study goes against a lot of received wisdom. “Maybe that’s not a really popular thing to say,” she said, adding, “I hate the notion that people think sending kids off to college is sending them to be victimized.”

We see this fear manifest itself all the time. After reading Yoffe’s story, I instantly thought of Reason’s Lenore Skenazy, who warns that many parents—as well as the state—have become myopic about the relative dangers their kids face. Skenazy has covered cases where police arrested parents for letting their children play outside by themselves, or wait in the car while mom grabbed groceries. Unrealistic fears about predators waiting around every corner to snatch and abuse kids have prompted the enactment of paranoid laws; these are bad for society and minimize child and parental autonomy, but do little to make children safer.

Consider Skenazy’s video for Reason TV. She discovered that concerns about sex offenders abusing kids on Halloween are entirely misplaced, and laws that force registered sex offenders to turn off their lights or report to a facility during Halloween hours are cruel and needless. In most respects, kids are no less safe on Halloween. In fact, the one great danger to trick-and-treaters is being hit by a car. Skenazy’s research suggests that taking the cops off sex offender patrol and putting them on crossing guard duty would be a far more effective use of police resources.

It’s not that children face no danger; rather, certain dangers are exaggerated in people’s minds (predators) and others minimized (car accidents). And so the policy designed to make children safer ends up focusing on the wrong thing.

It’s the same with rape. Culture does not cause rape. Tasteless jokes do not cause rape. Fraternities are not universal rape factories. Rape is not occurring more frequently. Whatever happened to Jackie, it wasn’t a Silence of the Lambs sort of ordeal as reported by Rolling Stone.

Which is not to say that nothing happened to Jackie, or that rape never happens, or that it has no cause or cultural enablers, or that all frats behave perfectly all the time. Of course rape happens, and it’s a serious matter deserving of everyone’s attention. The police should vigorously investigate accusations and prosecute offenders. Policies can and should be changed to diminish it. But this can only be done if people have a good sense of the scope of the actual problem.

And at the end of the day, obliterating that scope is perhaps the most costly consequence of Rolling Stone’s disastrous abandonment of journalistic principles. The article’s defenders cling—wrongly—to the notion that the world is brimming with Drews, and as such, all Jackies should automatically be believed without question. But some of the article’s critics, who are right about its significant flaws, will nevertheless draw the incorrect conclusion that all accusers are liars. Neither outcome is good for addressing actual sexual assault.

The ubiquity of misleading statistics about rape and absurd policies designed to deter it—including, most notably, affirmative consent policies that make neo-Victorian requirements of students who want to have sex—betray a great deal of societal confusion on this issue. Rolling Stone has worsened the matter, and it’s going to take lot more articles like Yoffe’s to undo the damage.

Source: http://reason.com/blog/2014/12/09/lessons-of-rolling-stones-uva-catastroph