Monday, April 6, 2015

Ms. (Emily) Renda (a rape survivor working on sexual assault issues at the University of Virginia), who was interviewed for the Columbia report, offered another reason that she felt the Rolling Stone article was flawed: The magazine was drawn toward the most extreme story of a campus rape it could find. The more nuanced accounts, she suggested, seemed somehow “not real enough to stand for rape culture. And that is part of the problem.”


Erdely and her editors had hoped their investigation would sound an alarm about campus sexual assault and would challenge Virginia and other universities to do better. Instead, the magazine's failure may have spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations. (Social scientists analyzing crime records report that the rate of false rape allegations is 2 to 8 percent.) At the University of Virginia, "It's going to be more difficult now to engage some people … because they have a preconceived notion that women lie about sexual assault," said Alex Pinkleton, a UVA student and rape survivor who was one of Erdely's sources.

Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report