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March 31, 2015

Cathy Young: UVA, "Haven Monahan," and Rape Hoax Denialism

It is the mark of a civilization on the verge of collapse and authoritarian catastrophe that so many things which are so obviously are so forbidden to be said.

Jackie lied. Period.

But you can't say it in Official America.

Four months after Rolling Stone magazine published a shocking--and soon discredited--account of a fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia, the Charlottesville police department has released the results of its investigation into the alleged assault. It comes as no surprise that "no substantive basis" was found for the claim by a student known as "Jackie" that she was raped by seven men at a fraternity party as a UVA freshman in September 2012. What's striking is to what lengths both the police and many in the news media have gone to tiptoe around the obvious fact that the tale was a hoax by a serial liar. This dance of denial suggests that in the current ideological climate, it is nearly impossible to declare any allegation of rape to be definitely false.

But the evidence against her is damning. It’s not simply that there was no party at Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity named by Jackie, anywhere near the time when she said she was attacked. It’s not simply that her account changed from forced oral sex to vaginal rape and from five assailants to seven, or that her friends saw no sign of her injuries after the alleged assault. What clinches the case is the overwhelming proof that "Drew," Jackie's date who supposedly orchestrated her rape, was Jackie's own invention.

Back in the fall of 2012, Jackie’s friends knew "Drew" as "Haven Monahan," an upperclassman who supposedly wanted to date her and with whom she encouraged them to exchange emails and text messages. However, an investigation by The Washington Post and other media last December found that "Haven's" messages were fake; the phone numbers he used were registered to online services that allow texting via the Internet and redirecting calls, while his photo matches a former high school classmate of Jackie’s who lives in a different state. No "Haven Monahan" exists on the UVA campus or, apparently, anywhere in the United States (at least outside romance novels). The catfishing scheme seems to have been a ploy to get the attention of a male friend on whom Jackie had a crush--the same friend she called for help after the alleged assault.

Sigh.


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posted by Ace at 06:17 PM

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