Feminists are scrambling following Rolling Stone’s apology for their recent article about a gang rape. Rolling Stone issued an apology for the article after other news outlets revealed serious inconsistencies in the accuser’s story. This led feminists to attempt to dodge the obvious problem: the accuser’s credibility and feminists’ credibility in regards to their theory of “rape culture” is in question.
Several feminists wrote articles concerning that issue, although none received as much backlash as Zerlina Maxwell’s piece. Maxwell’s argument is bizarrely problematic, yet also troubling is what happened in the 24 hours since the Washington Post published it.
The initial title of the article was “No matter what Jackie said, we should automatically believe rape claims”. It now reads “No matter what Jackie said, we should generally believe rape claims”. No one needs to take my word for it. Here is the evidence.
Maxwell’s argument is absurd. It was Sabrina Erdely and Rolling Stone’s automatic belief of Jackie, the accuser, that resulted in the apology. Had Erdely taken Jackie at her word but fact-checked her story, Erdely might have caught the inconsistencies and been able to question Jackie before the article reached print. Had Rolling Stone’s fact-chekcers bothered to question Jackie’s story, they too might have caught the inconsistencies.
What makes Maxwell’s argument particularly moronic is that this is not an instance of Jackie telling only Erdely the story. She told the story to her friends, to activists, and spoke about it on campus. Jackie has likely told the story dozens of times, each time repeating elements that appear to be untrue.
This does not mean that Jackie was not raped, yet it does mean that the story she told everyone appears to be partly untrue, to which Maxwell replied: Continue reading