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April 1 2016

Lawyers for Rape-Hoax Story's "Jackie" Claim She'd Be "Re-Traumatized" by Giving a Deposition

Charlotte Allen

Well, there seems to be one person who actually believes that the events reported in Rolling Stone's "A Rape on Campus" actually took place.

It's "Jackie" herself, the purported victim of a lurid gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house in September 2012 that everyone from the local police department to the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism concluded never took place. Rolling Stone later retracted the November 2014 story, and its author, Rolling Stone contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely, hasn't been heard from since.

The Washingon Post reports:

Lawyers representing a former University of Virginia student who claimed she was the victim of a gang rape in a discredited Rolling Stone story have asked a judge to cancel her scheduled deposition in a lawsuit against the magazine, arguing that she would be “re-traumatized” if she is compelled to recount her ordeal in proceedings under oath.

"Re-traumatized"?

“Forcing her to revisit her sexual assault, and then the re-victimization that took place after the Rolling Stone article came out, will inevitably lead to a worsening of her symptoms and current mental health,” Jackie’s attorneys wrote, citing “extensive support in the medical literature” that shows “sexual assault victims will experience trauma if they are forced to revisit the details of their assault.”

"Re-victimization"?

The former student — who in court papers is referred to only by her nickname, Jackie — became the central figure in a 2014 Rolling Stone article that described her account of a vicious sexual assault during her freshman year, an attack she said was carried out over several hours by seven men in a fraternity house bedroom. The 9,000-word exposé highlighted Jackie’s case as a devastating example of rape on a college campus and the struggles she faced while seeking help from members of the U-Va. administration, including the associate dean responsible for handling sexual assault allegations.

But reporting by The Washington Post, later confirmed by the Charlottesville Police Department and an investigation by the Columbia University journalism school, showed that the Rolling Stone article was factually inaccurate. The magazine eventually retracted the story and apologized to readers; the fraternity was cleared of all wrongdoing. In May, U-Va. associate dean Nicole Eramo filed a defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone, assailing the magazine’s “false” portrayal of her counsel to Jackie as callous and indifferent and arguing that Jackie’s story was a fabrication.

The former student — who in court papers is referred to only by her nickname, Jackie — became the central figure in a 2014 Rolling Stone article that described her account of a vicious sexual assault during her freshman year, an attack she said was carried out over several hours by seven men in a fraternity house bedroom. The 9,000-word exposé highlighted Jackie’s case as a devastating example of rape on a college campus and the struggles she faced while seeking help from members of the U-Va. administration, including the associate dean responsible for handling sexual assault allegations.

But reporting by The Washington Post, later confirmed by the Charlottesville Police Department and an investigation by the Columbia University journalism school, showed that the Rolling Stone article was factually inaccurate. The magazine eventually retracted the story and apologized to readers; the fraternity was cleared of all wrongdoing. In May, U-Va. associate dean Nicole Eramo filed a defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone, assailing the magazine’s “false” portrayal of her counsel to Jackie as callous and indifferent and arguing that Jackie’s story was a fabrication.

 It's Eramo's lawsuit that has provoked the request for Jackie to give sworn testimony in a deposition. Furthermore, as the Post had earlier revealed:

[L]awyers for Nicole Eramo, an associate dean at U-Va., described in new court documents...an elaborate scheme to win [classmate Ryan] Duffin over by creating a fake suitor, [Haven] Monahan, to spark romantic interest — a practice known as “catfishing” — that morphed into a sensational claim of gang rape at a U-Va. fraternity that Jackie said was instigated by the fictitious upperclassman, and finally a Rolling Stone story that rocked the U-Va. campus and shocked the nation.

A Charlottesville Police investigation later determined that no one named Haven Monahan had ever attended U-Va., and extensive efforts to find the person were not successful. Photographs that were texted to Duffin that were purported to be of Monahan were actually pictures depicting one of Jackie’s high school classmates in Northern Virginia. That man, now a student at a university in another state, confirmed to The Post that the photographs were of him....

In late September 2012, Jackie announced that she had a date at the Boar’s Head Inn with Haven Monahan. In an interview with The Post in 2014, Jackie said that the red dress she wore on the date — which Rolling Stone reported was later covered in her blood after the gang rape — had actually been purchased especially for [a] trip with Duffin to see [a] band in D.C.

Hmm. But maybe even if Jackie wasn't actually traumatized by that non-gang rape in September 2012, she was symbolically  traumatized. After all, there are still plenty of people out there who believe that even if that gang rape at the frat house never occurred, it could have occurred, so what's the diff? As Melissah Yang wrote for Bustle:

A reread of "A Rape on Campus" brings a mixed bag of feelings. Even though you know where the story behind the story ends, Jackie's account remains haunting. This specific case might have holes, but the aftermath outlined by Rolling Stone — skeptical reactions from officials, the difficulties in speaking up about sexual assault — has a familiar feel, an experience that has been echoed by victims at other college campuses. One magazine's mishandling should not silence those stories and others from coming forward.

In other words, fake but accurate. So you could say that Jackie's lawyers have made a pretty good case that their client would experience re-victimization. Symbolic re-victimization, that is.



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