The Charlottesville police decisively put spectacular gang rape allegations at the University of Virginia to bed Monday, finding ample evidence of major fabrications but zero evidence of any rape. But despite all the evidence, and the lack thereof, some aren’t ready to give up the ghost, and insist the sordid story might still be true. (RELATED: Twitter Activists Can’t Accept Rolling Stone Rape Retraction)
“To sexual assault experts, ‘false reporting’ is frequently recognized not as an indication that the victim is lying about being raped, but that she may be changing the circumstances of her attack in an effort to make her story more empathetic in a culture that largely disbelieves victims,” writes Jessica Valenti in The Guardian. “We already know that trauma victims often misremember details of their attack – but they also might give incomplete information because they are nervous that the full story will mean being blamed or disbelieved.”
Valenti doesn’t mention, however, that police found far more than just minor inconsistencies with Jackie’s tale. Rather, she appears to have invented a person who never existed, a “Haven Monahan” police were totally unable to find, and said he helped rape her at a party police say apparently never happened.
Additional digital communications evidence discovered by reporters, meanwhile, indicates that Jackie may have concocted Haven as a fake boyfriend in part of a convoluted plan to win the love of another boy.
The phone numbers for “Haven” Jackie shared with her friends actually routed to online services that allow users to engage in phone spoofing or send text messages without a number. Also, a picture of “Haven” that the friends were sent was actually a picture of a high school classmate of Jackie’s who claims to barely know her (and isn’t named Haven). (RELATED: University Of Virginia Student’s Catfishing Scheme Revealed)
Valenti’s column also doesn’t mention police findings that Jackie lacked credibility on her claim that she had a glass bottle shattered against her face, the resulting injury that was treated by her roommate, a nursing student. In fact, police found, Jackie appears to have had a scrape on her face consistent with simply falling over.
Despite the tremendous evidence going against Jackie’s allegations, Valenti says that in the end uncertainty still rules the day.
“The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jackie, and likely never will. She never wanted to make a police report – and apparently still doesn’t – and, given how she was thrown under the bus by Rolling Stone, it’s extremely unlikely that she’ll ever trust the media.”
Valenti isn’t the only person refusing to give up the UVA ghost. The #IStandWithJackie tag on Twitter, which gained currency when the Rolling Stone article first started to fall apart, was still seeing use on Monday and Tuesday.
— Just my opinion (@mamagoosta) March 24, 2015
— Feminist in Wisco (@Feministhmus) March 24, 2015
#IStandWithJackie bc we should believe survivors. Just bc the police couldn't gather enough evidence, doesn't mean the assault didn't happen
— Mason Bliss (@AudaciousBeat) March 24, 2015
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