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Understanding the Personal Psychology of Rapegate
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December 05, 2014, 04:35 PM
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From my Taki’s Magazine article “A Rape Hoax for Book Lovers:”

Strangely, just about the only people in America who don’t seem to have accepted at face value Jackie’s theory of a nine-man conspiracy to rape her are those portrayed in the Rolling Stone article as knowing the poor young woman well.

Much of this immense article is devoted to puzzling scenes in which Jackie’s friends and female mentors tell her to cheer up and get over it. If you read the article carefully, you’ll notice that almost everybody who knows Jackie closely treats her about the way you’d treat a friend who starts talking about having been abducted by aliens. You would try to find out what the real actual thing that happened to her was. But if she kept talking about alien rectal probing, you’d try to change the subject.

Morally, Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Rolling Stone should not have exploited an unsettled young woman.

Late in her first year at UVA, depressed and in danger of flunking out, Jackie talks to Dean Nicole Eramo, Chair of the Sexual Misconduct Board. This dean patiently explains to Jackie the three ways she can file charges, but Jackie can’t make up her mind. Eventually, Dean Eramo suggests she join a campus rape survivors’ support group. There, Jackie makes new friends who appreciate her story (even though it’s more violent than their own).

In Erdely’s telling, Dean Eramo, a middle-aged lady, is a sinister figure, a sonderkommando who shields the rape culture by getting students to confide in her instead of exposing the vileness all about. But there’s a problem with the author’s interpretation: Jackie and numerous other young women love Dean Eramo. She listens. Jackie and others responded to the Rolling Stone hit piece against Eramo by writing a long letter to the college newspaper praising the dean.

My vague impression is that Jackie seems like a troubled soul who drew needed comfort from talking to listeners who were sympathetic. She doesn’t appear to have been in any hurry over the last couple of years to talk to people who might ask her tough questions about the validity of her allegations, such as police detectives or defense attorneys. That appears to have been prudent on her part.

Unfortunately, Rolling Stone was eager to use her for its own commercial and political purposes. …

And so her story is now our latest national media crisis. …

Erdely attributes this widespread ho-hum reaction among Jackie’s old friends and confidantes to a second massive conspiracy, this one to cover up the first conspiracy in order to protect that bastion of the right, UVA. …

I suppose that Erdely’s positing two conspiracy theories is logically consistent. But Occam’s razor suggests that the real campus conspiracy may have been to gently humor the unhappy girl.

If you haven’t already, you can read my Taki’s Magazine article here.