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Jackie's UVA suitemate: Rolling Stone story "is not a hoax"

Students walk around the UVA campus.
Students walk around the UVA campus.
Jay Paul / Getty
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

Rolling Stone is has apologized for its story detailing a graphic gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, after discrepancies emerged in the main source's story. And serious questions about the journalism practices Rolling Stone used have been raised, particularly in its behavior toward Jackie, the student who said she was raped.

But Sunday night, a suitemate of Jackie's from that time, Emily Clark, went public with a letter saying she still believed that Jackie "went through a traumatizing sexual assault," which you can read at the Cavalier Daily. Clark describes a sudden change in Jackie's demeanor and behavior during her first semester:

I remember my first semester here, and I remember Jackie's. Jackie came to UVA bright, happy and bubbly. She was kind, funny, outgoing, friendly, and a pleasant person to be around. That all notably changed by December 2012, and I wasn't the only one who noticed. Our suite bonded that first semester and talked many times about the new troubles we were facing in college. Jackie never mentioned anything about her assault to us until much later. But I, as well as others, noticed Jackie becoming more and more withdrawn and depressed.

She says that Jackie stopped going to class, leading to a breakdown:

In December 2012, Jackie broke down. All of a sudden she was going home and none of us knew why. It was right before finals, and I couldn't believe she was leaving. She was distraught, and only said she needed to go home... Sometime that year I remember her letting it slip to me that she had had a terrible experience at a party. I remember her telling me that multiple men had assaulted her at this party. She didn't say anything more. It seemed that was all she'd allow herself to say.

Clark concludes by saying that, based on her interactions with Jackie, she believes "this story is not a hoax, a lie or a scheme." Head over to the Cavalier Daily for her account.

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