The past few weeks cannot have been particularly uplifting for sexual-assault survivors, who have been forced to watch as Jackie, the woman at the heart of Rolling Stone’s controversial campus-rape story, has had her character picked apart, been thrown under the bus by the magazine she agreed to open up to, and even had men’s-rights activists publish what they claim are her full name, phone number, and address to the internet. But now Emily Clark, Jackie’s freshman-year suite mate, has penned a moving letter in UVA’s student newspaper reemphasizing her belief in Jackie’s story.
Clark wrote the letter in response to Rolling Stone’s apology, which blamed “misplaced trust” in Jackie for the story’s factual discrepancies instead of, you know, the author’s own shoddy reporting. “I am writing to you in regards to Rolling Stone’s recent statement of ‘misplaced trust’ in Jackie,” writes Clark. “I feel this statement is backwards, as it seems it was Jackie who misplaced her trust in Rolling Stone.”
Clark goes on to corroborate much of Jackie’s story, saying she herself witnessed Jackie’s intense depression and withdrawal from social life, and was one of the few people Jackie told about experiencing the assault. She continues:
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.
Whether the details are correct or not, and whether the reporting was faulty, or the hazy memories of a traumatizing night got skewed … the blame should never fall on the victim’s shoulders. Jackie is a victim, as are so many others, men and women, young and old. So many stories have gone untold and so many perpetrators have been allowed to walk free.
Here’s hoping the Twitter wackos won’t use this gesture of support as an excuse to drag Clark through the mud, too.