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A Reflection: Rolling Stone Rape Victim Article

This article, titled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle For Justice at UVA,” was published in November 2014. It is a detailed account of a rape victim, Jackie’s, struggle with what happened to her and how she will go about her life now, after the fact.

Sabrina Erdely, the writer, interviewed several people regarding this incident, and gathered her information. This is an important story to tell, and is a real problem at many universities. Based on the comments, a strong majority are on Jackie’s side.

One issue is that the fraternity was never actually investigated, according to the article. Someone commented that the fraternity should not be disciplined unless they have been found guilty of misconduct by a fair and impartial tribunal. Until the fraternity is investigated, it will be very difficult to prove anything. That does not mean that they don’t deserve to be questioned, however. Based on the article the fraternity is essentially sweeping this issue under the rug in order to keep their reputation positive.

Another person commented that he or she feels that, “The point of the article is that is exactly what is NOT happening at UVA. Rapists are not only not getting jail time and having their lives ruined as what should be done; rather, the UVA administration is defending them and encouraging an unsafe culture for young women and minorities.” This is fairly clear in the article, as it seems to consist of a lot of information about what happened, but very little about what can or will be done.

Sadly, not everyone is in agreement of this incident being a problem. For example, one person stated, “Thats right, just terminate a chapter with no proof or evidence that it is a real allegation. Let the justice system do its job before calling such bold moves you fool.” This was in response to a comment that said, “Suspend? Not good enough. Terminate it. Also, Shutter the school and prosecute the administrators as well as the rapists. The crime is bad enough. The cover up is worse.” This incident, and others like it, are typically misjudged. Many find it difficult to believe that an allegation of rape is legit, and people do not take it seriously when they should.

This story, though important, does have several holes, unfortunately. The most obvious is Jackie’s friends’ response to her calling them for help. They apparently convinced her that she did not need to see a doctor, insisting that her reputation would be ruined and that they would never get invited to another frat party again. This seems like a ridiculous response from a friend. If one of my friends came to me after having a traumatic experience such as this, the last thing on my mind would be a reputation. Perhaps they just didn’t know what to do, and figured the best thing would be to take her home. But I would hope that someone would be aware of the seriousness of the situation and take her to a doctor right away. And, after the fact, the friends were surprised she was still worried about what happened, which does not make sense, as rape is a serious problem. So, this does not quite add up.

Another hole is that her parents were hardly mentioned. Granted, perhaps they did not maintain a strong relationship when she went to college. But especially if her father was in the marines, one would think that he would be infuriated by this. It surprises me that her mother was not more concerned about her as well, after seeing her so upset. I don’t think it’s very likely that her parents would simply ignore their own daughter when she was so visibly upset.

Strangely, there are no photos that accompany this story, aside from pictures of a few of the people who were interviewed. But not one single picture of the incident, or of Drew, whom Jackie mentions multiple times, who was the one who led her to this situation. And, it is hard to believe that not one person noticed her running from the room during the party, especially if her dress was stained and she was not wearing shoes. Overall, this story just does not make much sense.

Even if the story is not true, rape happens far too often to innocent men and women, notably in college settings. Fraternities are notorious for this, which unfortunately taints their reputations across the board. Many people in the comments have stated that they believe the entire fraternity should be punished. And while this would certainly have an impact, not every person was involved, which would anger a lot of people and could cause even more trouble. This is not to say, however, that nothing should be done. I believe this is an outrage and that something needs to be done about it. But I think there are better ways to go about it than simply terminating/defunding all fraternities.

If the story is indeed completely true, it is horrific. Rape of any kind is absolutely intolerable, and if someone I knew was in this situation I would be even more furious. Unfortunately, as a society, we do not have effective responses to cases of rape. Often, these incidents go undetected because they are hard to prove, or the victim is not taken seriously. And, many of the victims who do go to authorities are warned about the grueling process of filing charges, and end up leaving the issue alone rather than continuing with/opening an investigation.

Something needs to be done about this. I do not know what, but I hope that someday the many victims of rape get the justice they deserve.

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