Last year, Rolling Stone induced one of the biggest storms of criticism when they published their article A Rape on Campus about the alleged gang rape of female student “Jackie” by Phi Kappa Psi frat boys at the University of Virginia. Because Jackie refused to engage with Rolling Stone and stories about what happened contradicted each other, the article lost its credibility and the media and activists argued about how sexual assault and rape stories should be reported.
Since November, police in the area inducted an investigation and yesterday after four months of research and 70 interviews, Police Chief Timothy J. Longo Sr. of Charlottesville, stated that no evidence of rape was found in the UVA case.
With the release of this update, the situation remains extremely sensitive. If the police have claimed no evidence of a rape, does it mean that was Jackie lying? Or, because she didn’t want to participate in Rolling Stone coverage, her innocence and truth were mistakenly left in the hands of others (which only led to more confusion and frustration on what really happened).
At the press conference on Monday, Longo, Sr. said: “We’re not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house, or any other fraternity house, for that matter. That doesn’t mean something terrible didn’t happen to Jackie on the evening of Sept. 28, 2012. We’re just not able to gather sufficient facts to determine what that is.” He also confirmed that the investigation wasn’t closed but that essentially they were closer to a conclusion.
Following the backlash that Rolling Stone received, the publication began its own analysis about what went wrong with their article, an effort being done in conjunction with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. “In the next couple of weeks” the magazine will be published an “external review” of the original piece, as Managing Editor Will Dana was quoted in the Times. Hopefully for them, this will happen before the Psi Kappa Alpha sues the legendary mag for defamation of character, which they have threatened but a filing hasn’t been made yet.