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Rolling Stone Debacle Will Set Back Progress

Instead of campus rape, we'll be talking about 'slipshod journalism,' says op-ed
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2014 5:01 PM CST

(Newser) – With Rolling Stone backpedaling on its allegations of a gang rape at the University of Virginia, Susan Reimer at the Baltimore Sun takes stock of the situation: "What an ungodly mess," she writes. For a while there, it looked as if the nation might finally start having a conversation about campus rape and whether universities are doing a better job protecting their reputations than their female students. "We won't be having that conversation now," writes Reimer. "We will be talking about slip-shod journalism and the motives and mental health of a young woman we know as Jackie."

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Reimer also worries this is going to discourage other women from coming forward. At Salon, Erin Keane makes a similar point: "This could have been the year the myth of the 'girl who cried rape' was relegated to the statistical improbability pile where it belonged," she writes. "Instead, the assumed credibility of all victims, not just Rolling Stone’s, is likely to take a hit." We still don't know what did or didn't happen at UVa, points out Petula Dvorak at the Washington Post. But she can't understand why it took sensational allegations of a gang rape to get the country's attention. "Guess what?" she writes. "We shouldn’t need this kind of drama to talk about rape and demand real change in the way universities handle it." (Read more University of Virginia stories.)

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