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With Friends Like These…

A reader of this blog, commenting on the Rolling Stone/UVA rape story, writes:

I agree there are many reasons to be skeptical here. I’m glad this story is being questioned.

That said, I do find it believable that the “friends” were more concerned about future frat party invites than helping Jackie. A personal experience that happened to me my first few months of college makes me believe this.

I was a very naive freshman going to her first college party- and I’d never been around alcohol before. I didn’t drink anything that night, but many of the people around me had a lot. One girl got incredibly drunk and a guy who wasn’t very drunk convinced her to go “watch a movie” in his room. I was too naive to understand what may have been happening here, so I didn’t do anything. When we went to leave the party with my friends, we went by that boy’s room to collect our friend- she was disheveled and extremely drunk, and her pants were down. I suspected she had been sexually assaulted.

Our group returned immediately to our dorm and an RA spotted the drunk girl as we walked in. The dorm staff called my friends and me separately into a room and asked us all exactly what we’d witnessed. Apparently their purpose was to figure out how much alcohol the girl had consumed to decide whether or not she needed to go to the ER. I naively told exactly what I’d seen that night, including the part about her disappearing to the boy’s room (so I didn’t know how much she had to drink during that time) and coming out with her pants down.

Apparently no one else said anything about the boy. My “friends” figured out that I’d told that part of the story and I was immediately shunned from the social group for “tattling” and “slut-shaming.” I’d intended no such thing- I was genuinely concerned about her wellbeing and naively thought that I was supposed to share exactly what I’d seen with the college officials. I didn’t know there was an unwritten code about reporting sexual assault.

Completely plausible — and completely frustrating. This reminds me of people in poor neighborhoods who complain about crime, but who also support the “don’t snitch” mentality. There is no way for authorities to discourage campus rape and punish campus rapists if those students who know something don’t say something.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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