No one wants to hear the phrase “I was raped,” or “I know someone who was raped,” come out of their mouths because no one wants to be another victim. Rape truly has become an epidemic across this country that is spiraling out of control. Rape is especially a common epidemic in colleges and universities. On Wednesday Nov. 19, Rolling Stone published Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s article, nearly 9,000-words, titled: “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA.” This article discusses the story of University of Virginia (UVA) student Jackie who was gang raped at a Phi Kappa Psi fraternity party during her freshman year of college.
According to the article, in 2012, Jackie was gang raped by seven men who took turns raping her for over three hours. The boy, who invited her to the party and has been named Drew in the article, watched on as Jackie was attacked. She left the party with her bloodstained dress and no one took any notice. Rolling Stone also unfortunately reported that the faculty as well as Jackie’s friends told her not to report her attack back in 2012. This is the first time, now in 2014 two years later, that Phi Kappa Psi is being investigated for the gang rape.
The article quickly garnered a huge social media following almost immediately after it being published. According to the Rolling Stone Facebook page, the article has received over 138k shares and over 6,000 comments. Additionally, many women who attended UVA have since emailed Rolling Stone to share their own similar gang rape stories from their time at the university.
UVA was quick to react to the article as UVA President Teresa Sullivan released at statement on the article Wednesday. Below is an excerpt from her letter:
“The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community. Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation’s colleges and universities.”
Sullivan also wrote in her letter that she has asked the Charlottesville Police Department to look into Jackie’s 2012 assault. Additionally, the president of Phi Kappa Psi, the frat mentioned in the article, released a reaction statement to the article. Since the article’s release, UVA has suspended all fraternities for 48 days, until Jan.9, 2015, the beginning of spring semester. But otherwise, there have not been any signs of further action.
For the Rolling Stone’s article points out that not one UVA student has been expelled for sexual assault or rape since 1993, but rather 183 students have been expelled due to honor-code violations such as plagiarism and cheating on tests. This is crucial that the Rolling Stone mentioned that no student has been expelled due to sexual assault because UVA is currently one of the 86 colleges across the country that are currently under federal investigation due to their mishandling of sexual assault claims.
As for Jackie, the article states that she desperately wants to find the courage to file the criminal cases or even make a civil case but she is still unable too as she feels she’s in her “own personal prison.” Jackie explained to Erdely that she’s been having a recurring nightmare for these past two years as each time she sees herself climbing the Phi Kappa Psi stairs and is frantically calling out to herself to stop and turn around. Additionally, when she discusses the assault, Jackie is still fixated on the same moment of the night. That moment being right before Drew picked her up for the party. She recalls:
“I remember looking at the mirror and putting on mascara and being like, ‘I feel really pretty. ‘ “I didn’t know it would be the last time I wouldn’t see an empty shell of a person.”
To this day, Jackie still puts a lot of blame on herself as she calls that night a “bad decision.” UVA has been in the news a lot these past few months as, early in Sept. sophomore Hannah Graham disappeared and later in Oct. her remains were found in a heavily wooded area of Albemarle County.
UVA has held the honor of being one of the best public colleges in all of America for years; however, after the recent events it would not be surprising if the university’s reputation takes a plummet.