Today in Rape Culture

[Content Note: Rape apologia; sexual violence. Graphic description of assault in Rolling Stone link.]

Last month, Rolling Stone published a story by Sabrina Rubin Erdely detailing the gang rape of a University of Virginia student named Jackie. It is incredibly difficult to read, and a depressingly familiar story to anyone who engages even marginally with anti-rape advocacy.

The story has received the predictable and typical backlash. But it has also come under fire for failing to include responses from the alleged rapists.

Earlier this week, writing for the Washington Post under the headline "Rolling Stone whiffs in reporting on alleged rape," Erik Wemple said: "For the sake of Rolling Stone's reputation, Sabrina Rubin Erdely had better be the country's greatest judge of character. ...Rolling Stone bears a great deal of responsibility for placing the credibility of the accuser in the spotlight, thanks to shortcomings in its own reporting. Consider that: Erdely didn't talk to the alleged perpetrators of the attack."

Katherine Reed has written a thoughtful response [H/T to Jessica Luther] to this particular criticism, from the perspective of someone who covers sexual assault cases, and I encourage you to read the whole thing.

I will just make this personal observation: Who the fuck even cares what the men alleged to have gang-raped a woman for hours have to say? If they're rapists, I'm pretty sure they're liars, too.

Whatever they have to say isn't worth a smudge of dogshit regarding the veracity of Jackie's account.

Even people who believe Jackie to be a liar know this is true. Whatever the men accused of gang-raping her have to say, unless it's a full confession, isn't really meaningful.

So why would anyone bother arguing that their expected denials should have been included? And this is the reason: Because they want something on which to hang their hats. They want something, even if it's a transparent lie, that they can use to justify disbelieving Jackie.

It's so unfair that they haven't been offered the opportunity of the pretense of fairness toward the accused as cover for their axiomatic rape apologia.

They're pissed that they haven't been given something, anything, to allow them to question her account by pretending they are just interested in fairness and balance. They're pissed that they have no cover for challenging her credibility.

So now it's all about ethics in game rape journalism.

I see you.

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