In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.
Were this an isolated incident it would be bad enough. This story, however, was written at a time when there is a movement afoot on college campuses to basically strip constitutional rights away from male students, creating “guilty until proven innocent” policies regarding sexual assault. This wasn’t reporting, it was deliberate political narrative-building.
The discrepancies in this story have been out there for all to see for a while and, while it’s good that the magazine finally acknowledged them, it would have been better had an editor done his or her job in the first place.
Cautioning against false accusations is not the same as ignoring the problem, although this debate has become so heated that claim is often made.