Although questions emerged this weekend abouta major Rolling Stone magazine feature on sexual assault at the University of Virginia, a former suitemate of UVA student Jackie says that her friend’s story “is not a hoax.”
In a letter to student newspaper The Cavalier Daily, UVA junior Emily Clark writes that she believes “wholeheartedly” that her freshman suitemate Jackie “went through a traumatizing sexual assault.” Jackie’s account of a gang rape at UVA fraternity Phi Kappa Psi centered Rolling Stone’s feature, but the magazine announced Friday that there were “discrepancies” in what the student told writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
The Washington Post reported Friday that a Phi Psi statement denied several facts included in Erderly’s story, and several of Jackie’s friends questioned the identity of her alleged assailant.
However, Clark writes in her letter, “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.”
Clark writes that she noticed a distinct change in her roommate Jackie by the end of their first semester — during which Jackie was allegedly raped. Jackie, according to Clark, spent her days “curled up in bed without the will to turn off the alarm,” not going to class or doing her homework.
In December of their freshman year, Jackie “broke down” and left UVA without explanation. “She was distraught, and only said she needed to go home,” Clark writes.
Other of Jackie’s friends have also confirmed that the student likely was the victim of a traumatic sexual assault during their first few weeks on campus. Two of the students who reportedly spoke to Jackie the night of her alleged gang rape at Phi Psi told The Washington Post that they were misquoted in the Rolling Stone article — and that neither ever spoke to Erdely — but said that Jackie had reached out to them for help that night and that she seemed distressed.
According to one student — identified in Rolling Stone as “Andy” — on the night in question, “Jackie said she had been at a fraternity party and had been forced to perform oral sex on a group of men.”
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