That UVA rape story is fishy

Let me get this straight. The author of this trending story on rape at UVA wants us to believe that…

1. The fraternity decided to rape a sober girl and then did nothing to prevent her from reporting the rape afterwards. One guy even mentioned it to her when he saw her later on.

2. Jackie’s best friend Cindy, who was so quick to come get her at 3 a.m. in the morning, didn’t take her to the hospital because “her reputation would be shot” and they might “never be allowed into a frat party again.”

3. Jackie’s best friends Andy and Randall weren’t dissuaded from rushing this fraternity after seven of its members gang-raped her. Randall even joined the fraternity later on.

I have a hard time believing these details. I think they are either outright false or a gross exaggeration.

…or the average student at UVA (an above-average school) really is that stupid and that willing to put their social reputation before justice for rape victims. I guess that’s not totally inconceivable. But if that’s the case, and if this attitude is typical among the average college student (or, at least, the average student at UVA), then I’m not sure this problem will ever be solved. If even people closest to the problem could care less about finding justice, then people up the ranks sure aren’t going to expend too much effort trying to get to the bottom of things. Can administrators even trust the average student’s testimony? Will Jackie’s friends be honest on a witness stand if this case makes it to court? If this story is true, there’s no telling. I think even the author should admit that.

On that note, if I’m right and some of these details are made up, then the author has only hurt the cause of justice by ruining hopes that working with students is going to yield any good, quick outcomes. Same thing if I’m wrong and this really is how the story went down. These students are totally, and almost hopelessly, messed up.

The first step toward solving systemic problems like this is to get the facts straight. Unfortunately, I don’t think this story does that.

3 thoughts on “That UVA rape story is fishy

  1. thealexaccount

    Hey Nick,

    I am torn between hoping you are right and believing the victim. For better or worse, the university is treating the Rolling Stone version as canonical and everyone (including me) has been grieving for the past several days. I guess we will know more when all of the investigations have concluded, but if even half of Jackie’s story is proven true, it will be a devastating indictment of UVA’s party culture- especially the frats. I think there is a serious problem, no matter how true Jackie’s story ends up being. One of my students, Alex, is featured in the Rolling Stone and subsequent articles and it pains me no end to learn that she has to endure a horrific crime more than once.

    I do agree, though, that we all lose no matter the outcome. If this story ends up being a repeat of the 2006 Duke Lacrosse case, future victims will be even more reluctant to pursue justice if they think no one will believe them. If the story is completely accurate (and for now, that’s the assumption I am operating under), then I don’t know how we can have any hope for anyone. My full thoughts (which, admittedly I used as a form of catharsis this weekend) are spelled out in this post:

  2. nfreiling Post author

    Good to hear from a UVA insider. The longer I think about this issue, the less I think I’m right to be skeptical. While I generally try to see people as mostly good, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m asking too much of Jackie’s friends. While I don’t suspect any of them would say rape is ok, I do think that being caught up in the midst of campus life–especially one where alcohol-fueled partying and casual sex is the norm–might cloud judgement a bit. This isn’t ok. They’re still a sad excuse for friends and, frankly, for college students. But at least might help to explain why they didn’t think reporting this crime was the best thing to do.

    Then again, Jackie was supposedly covered in blood when they found her. That’s the kicker. That’s one detail I can’t get over. I just can’t believe that finding someone covered in blood on a street corner wouldn’t trigger an instinctual reaction to seek justice (or at least to find her some medical help, for God’s sake), and that instead, the first thing that comes to mind is to worry about whether this means they won’t be invited to these parties again.

  3. Pingback: An update on “rape at UVA” | Nick Freiling

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