Many bytes and pixels have been generated to discuss the veracity of Rolling Stone’s article about an alleged gang rape that University of Virginia fraternity members committed against a freshman two years ago. I don’t think much needs to be said anymore about the truth of the specific allegations. To those of us used to assessing evidence, it was clear from the beginning that the story couldn’t hold water. Once the fraternity alleged to be behind the rape proved conclusively, with actual facts, that there was no party on the night alleged and could not have been a party on the night alleged, the whole story fell apart like a cheap paper plate at a barbecue.
What interests me today are a couple of defenses mounted by peers of “Jackie,” the alleged rape victim. Both of these defenses show an intellectual mushiness that’s very disturbing to anyone who cherishes a last, faint hope that America’s institutions of higher learning are teaching young people the art of thinking. Both of them, in fact, show the art of non-thinking — of being carried away on a tide of emotion and assumption — and a complete absence of moral decency.
The first article, which appeared in Politico, comes from Julia Horowitz, an assistant managing editor at the University of Virginia’s student newspaper, The Daily Cavalier. It is a living testament to Stephen Colbert’s only half-humorous notion of “truthiness,” which argues that it doesn’t matter if something is true, as long as it could be true. You see, according to Horowitz, the entire UVA campus is permeated with rape:
“There was this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach in [reading] the whole thing,” fourth-year student Anna Burke told me. “I have never been through something like that myself, but it was a refrain I had heard before. There was a sort of familiar sadness to it.”
Please don’t be naive and think that the permeation Horowitz describes arises because of a series of rapes that ended up in the criminal justice system. The permeation doesn’t even arise because of some claimed number of rapes that ended up in the university’s kangaroo court system. Instead, the entire proof for this permeation is the disgraceful false statistic claiming that 1 in 5 (or, as some say, 1 in 4) women on college campuses will be raped. As many astute commentators have pointed out, accepting this statistic means that rape on college campuses in America is more prevalent than rape in America’s worst inner cities and starts approaching levels comparable to those in Germany when the Red Army troops got there in 1945. There’s truth to the claim that, if this statistic is true (which it isn’t), it’s child abuse for parents to send their daughters off to college.
Nevertheless, Horowitz’s proof for her slanderous assertion that UVA is a hotbed of rape is based upon that single false statistic:
The University of Virginia — like most American universities — has a problem with rape. Current estimates, cited earlier this year by Vice President Joe Biden, hold that one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college. That means that in my 200-person politics lecture, roughly a full row will be filled with survivors. In my 20-person major seminar, there are at least two. That is not a calculus I should have to work out in the margins of my Marx-Engels reader.
In the entire article, Horowitz was unable to identify a single actual rape case on the UVA campus. Instead, thanks to that 1-in-5 paradigm, these credulous, weak-minded students are sure that there’s a rape epidemic. It’s irrelevant to them that the number bears no relationship to their actual experience or the experience of their friends or the statistical data for their specific campus. Ultimately, Horowitz, who clearly aspires to some journalistic chops, perceives herself as a victim because some freshman says so:
“These events undoubtedly do occur here,” first-year Maddie Rita told me. “And while this report has clearly had factual flaws as well as rhetorical missteps, there are plenty of other fully corroborated accounts not only at this university, but at every university around the country.”
What’s just as disturbing about Horowitz’s ignorance and illogical thinking is the psychobabble that permeates this trite piece of glop:
Two weeks into a process of healing and concerted action, the only shared conviction now is one of profound uncertainty. The campus — relatively oversaturated with emotion after a semester of significant trauma — feels as if it is on stand-by, poised in anticipation of where the next torrent of news will take us.
That same friend, a few days after the article was released, publicly identified herself as a survivor for the first time. People were talking, and the issue — which too often hides in locked dorm rooms, in upstairs bedrooms and the dark corners of a fraternity basement — was finally being thrust out into the open. Survivors felt comfortable sharing their stories, and there was hope that reporting would increase.
Confession — true or false — is therapy, and that’s all that matters, right?
That Horowitz is dumb enough to take this Big Lie seriously is disturbing. What’s even more disturbing is the fact that others advancing this propaganda have also figured out that, if they want to make something of it, they’d better have more to go on than the 1 in 5 statistic. As Zombie has discovered, just as the “campus rape crisis” story hit the big time with California’s new legislative requirement that all campus sexual encounters must be explicitly agreed to in order for the guy to avoid the presumption of rape, unproven allegations of rape at UC Berkeley skyrocketed:
Just days after a new California law redefining rape came into effect, several shocking but unsubstantiated rape allegations have been leveled against fraternities on the UC Berkeley campus.
One stunning university police report cites accusations of a mass rape at the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, where not just one but five victims were supposedly drugged and raped on the same night at the frat house near campus.
In another allegation, a specific perpetrator was named, arrested, and shamed publicly — only to be later declared “factually innocent” as the rape charge was quietly dropped, after his reputation was ruined.
Suspiciously, in most of the cases the charges were not made by victims or witnesses, but rather by third parties long after the fact. These third-party accusations were made either anonymously or by “Campus Security Authorities,” which includes campus political activist groups. In many of the cases, the actual “victims” themselves have not come forward and may not even consider themselves to have been raped.
And even more suspiciously, almost none of the supposed crimes were reported directly to Berkeley’s municipal police force, whose jurisdiction covers campus as well, but instead only to the university police, who are required by recent regulations to log and publicize each accusation.
In not a single case have any of the charges been substantiated, nor have any suspects been indentified or arrested (aside from the one case noted above where the charge was subsequently dropped).
(Read Zombie’s entire post to see the scope of those slanderous claims. I use the word “slander” deliberately, because these allegations are made in a context that makes it impossible for the alleged “offender” to mount a defense — which implies that the accusers know that there is a defense and don’t want it to get out there.)
And now, back to Horowitz, who ends her mindless screed with the cri de couer of truthiness crowd:
It is no accident that the article came out, and it became apparent almost immediately that there were very tangible things we needed to discuss.
Yes, the story was sensational. But even the most sensational story, it seems, can contain frightening elements of truth.
Put another way, this future journalist of America is saying that, even though there’s no evidence out there all to support the claim that UVA is a hotbed of rape, the fact that this false story coincides with inchoate fears based upon false statistics means that something serious is going on.
We’re doomed, only our doom isn’t coming in the form of fraternity rapes. It’s coming in the form of a higher education system churning out people who would have been front row accusers at the Salem witch trials.
Worse, Horowitz is not alone. Emily Clark, who claims to have been Jackie’s suite-mate, is also speaking out. (According to Clark’s open letter to The Cavalier Daily, Jackie’s allegations must be true because she got sad:
I fully support Jackie, and I believe wholeheartedly that she went through a traumatizing sexual assault. I remember my first semester here, and I remember Jackie’s. Jackie came to UVA bright, happy and bubbly. She was kind, funny, outgoing, friendly, and a pleasant person to be around. That all notably changed by December 2012, and I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Our suite bonded that first semester and talked many times about the new troubles we were facing in college. Jackie never mentioned anything about her assault to us until much later. But I, as well as others, noticed Jackie becoming more and more withdrawn and depressed.
I remember her alarm going off every morning. I always assumed she had gone to class and forgot to turn off her later alarms. Being the lazy freshman I was, I tended to roll over in bed and pay no mind to it, hoping somebody else would turn it off, and remind Jackie about it once she got back from class. If I had known Jackie wasn’t going to class, that she was curled up in bed without the will to turn off the alarm, things would have been much different. I remember second semester, she shared a Netflix account with me and I noticed how much TV she was watching — hours and hours of shows that seemed to get darker and darker as time went on. I wondered how she had time, with homework and school, and I wondered if she was okay. I didn’t ask. I wish I had.
In December 2012, Jackie broke down. All of a sudden she was going home and none of us knew why. It was right before finals, and I couldn’t believe she was leaving. She was distraught, and only said she needed to go home. Her teachers had given her allowance to take her finals over break. At that point, we knew something big had happened. I didn’t know until this year with the publication of Rolling Stone’s article how bad that time was for her.
At some point, Jackie apparently threw out a vague statement about a massive sexual assault, which the lovely, sensitive Clark completely ignored:
Sometime that year I remember her letting it slip to me that she had had a terrible experience at a party. I remember her telling me that multiple men had assaulted her at this party. She didn’t say anything more. It seemed that was all she’d allow herself to say. I wish I had done something sooner. I wish I had known how to help. But I applaud Jackie for telling her story, now two years later. It was a story that needed to be told.
I’m not a person blessed with much imagination, but I can come up with a whole lot of reasons why Jackie got sad and went home, reasons that would readily encompass flamboyant confabulation. Here are just a few:
- Clark was the roommate from Hell, which depressed Jackie, made Jackie say anything she could to get away from her, and finally led to Jackie’s running away.
- Jackie was homesick, got depressed, lied to get nosy Clark to mind her own business, and ran back home.
- Jackie got pregnant.
- Jackie hated University of Virginia and wished she hadn’t gone there.
- Jackie is bipolar, which readily encompasses the depression and lies.
- Jackie has some other form of mental illness, which also readily encompasses depression and lies.
- Jackie got into a fight with her boyfriend — again, carries in its wake depression and lies.
- Jackie was physically ill.
I welcome other reasonable explanations for the fact that Jackie got sad and left UVA, including explanations that explain why Jackie vaguely claimed some assault that, when told to a journalist from a national magazine, turned out to be false from beginning to end.
Having advanced meaningless data, Clark theorizes like mad — and does so despite knowing that Jackie has been proven to be a liar. This makes for some pretty peculiar assertions:
While I cannot say what happened that night, and I cannot prove the validity of every tiny aspect of her story to you, I can tell you that this story is not a hoax, a lie or a scheme. Something terrible happened to Jackie at the hands of several men who have yet to receive any repercussions.
Whether the details are correct or not, and whether the reporting was faulty, or the hazy memories of a traumatizing night got skewed…the blame should never fall on the victim’s shoulders. Jackie is a victim, as are so many others, men and women, young and old. So many stories have gone untold and so many perpetrators have been allowed to walk free.
Truthiness. False but accurate. Feelings.
We already know that the Left trafficks in lies and emotions. What’s so very painful is that, through its long march on America’s educational institutions, it’s managed to infect a generation that no longer sees truth as a lodestone. Truth is, instead, a burdensome irrelevancy that gets in the way of the all important narrative.
To have earned spots at UVA, we have to assume that Clark and Horowitz are in the top 20%, or even top 10% of America’s students. They are, therefore, America’s best and brightest. And these two bestest and brightest girls have proven, in writing, that they’re illogical, uneducated, ruled by emotion, and comfortable with any amount of lies and slander provided that these lies satisfy the girls’ emotionally-based narratives.