A University of Virginia student who lived with Jackie, the subject of a disputed Rolling Stone article about the school’s response to sexual assault, published a defense of the alleged rape victim Sunday night in the campus newspaper.
Emily Clark, who was Jackie’s suitemate when she was allegedly gang-raped at UVA’s chapter of Phi Kappa Psi in 2012, wrote in the Cavalier Daily that she “wholeheartedly” believes Jackie experienced a traumatizing sexual assault.
“Sometime that year I remember her letting it slip to me that she had had a terrible experience at a party,” Clark wrote. “I remember her telling me that multiple men had assaulted her at this party. She didn’t say anything more. It seemed that was all she’d allow herself to say.”
Rolling Stone’s article began to unravel in recent weeks as some media outlets raised questions about Jackie’s account of her alleged rape and others, chiefly the Washington Post, found real discrepancies in the magazine piece through re-reporting. The magazine backpedaled its article on Friday amid mounting criticism.
Friends of Jackie’s are now coming forward to elaborate on those discrepancies. The Washington Post got in touch with a UVA student identified in the Rolling Stone article as “Andy,” one of the friends who met Jackie near the frat houses after her alleged assault. “Andy” — who said he never spoke with Rolling Stone — told the newspaper that Jackie said she was forced to perform oral sex on multiple men, but didn’t specify a fraternity where it happened.
Clark couldn’t offer such specific details about the alleged assault’s immediate aftermath, but she described in detail Jackie’s withdrawal into severe depression by December of 2012.
“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,” Clark wrote. “Something terrible happened to Jackie at the hands of several men who have yet to receive any repercussions.”
Read the full letter here.