Rolling Stone's error could be a huge step backward for sexual assault victims

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A couple weeks after publishing its bombshell story about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia frat party, Rolling Stone announced on Friday there are some "discrepancies" in its reporting.

Among those discrepancies are the fact that the publication didn't contact the alleged assaulters following Jackie's account of her attack in Rolling Stone. The fraternity whose members were accused of Jackie's gang rape released a statement outlining the errors it sees in Rolling Stone's story.

Twitter quickly erupted with derision, calling out Rolling Stone for appearing to fail at the basic journalistic principle of fact-checking a highly emotionally charged story.


But, as many soon pointed out, the real issue is getting lost in the weeds. The story of pervasive sexual assault on college campuses, an issue that gained a national spotlight following Rolling Stone's article, is giving way to indignation about reporting failures.

Rolling Stone has done a huge disservice to all women by retracting their story for whatever BS reason they want to provide

— Laura (@_xolauraaa) December 5, 2014

Rolling Stone did women a disservice using that story for their own gain.

— Cancer Ass Kicker (@LizA_from_LA) December 5, 2014

Already, this is being described as the story being debunked, as if Jackie’s account *and* UVA’s sexual assault problem are untrue.

— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) December 5, 2014


Research has shown only about 2 to 8 percent of rape allegations are fabricated or unfounded, Emily Renda, a 2014 UVA graduate who works for the school as a sexual violence awareness specialist, told The Washington Post in a story about Rolling Stone's errors.

The hashtag #IStandWithJackie sprang up as Twitter users banded together to make it clear sexual assault is a real issue on college campuses and shouldn't be undermined by a reporting scandal.



Abby Rogers is a feminist who is completely content being a crazy cat lady. She reads everything, but only in real book form — no e-readers thank you very much.

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