Senators condemned the Rolling Stone article on campus sexual assault on Tuesday, saying that it will make it more difficult for other survivors to come forward.
“I am saddened and angry about the bad journalism in the Rolling Stone concerning an alleged gang rape at [the University of Virginia.] I am saddened and angry because it is a set back for survivors in this country,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
Last month, Rolling Stone published a gruesome account of Jackie being gang raped in a fraternity house at the University of Virginia during her freshman year. The story made national waves, shining a spotlight on the issue of sexual assault on campus.
As others began investigating the story, however, the magazine came under fire for not talking to Jackie’s alleged attackers and later published something of an apology, noting that they have now discovered discrepancies in the story from Jackie, who declined to have her last name published.
Ms. McCaskill said that while some have said the story proves that victims are often lying about their alleged attack, the truth shows that the crime is really under reported.
“This is not a crime where you have rampant false reporting or embellishment. This is a crime that is the most underreported crime in America,” she said. “I want to make sure we overcome it and don’t allow it to slow us in our determination to make sure that victims have the support they ned at the moment they need it.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, said some may use the article as a reason not to believe survivors who do come forward. But she pointed out that, while the public may never know the facts of the case reported by Rolling Stone, the truth is that the issue is about more than just one case or one school.
“I hope this story will not ultimately outshine the story of thousands of brave women and men telling their stories and holding colleges across the country accountable,” she said. “I refuse to let this one story become an excuse not to let Congress fix this broken system.”
• Jacqueline Klimas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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