UVA Students Continue Dialogue on Sexual Assault, PTSD, and Irresponsible Journalism

Credit Photo: Hawes Spencer

In the wake of Rolling Stone renouncing its own story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, some students say that Jackie, the undergraduate at the center of the storm, has been abused– this time by the magazine

Hawes Spencer reports

“We are trying to stop a culture of blaming the victim, but that’s exactly what they did: they blamed the victim.”

That’s Jacob Irby, as he meets up with members of a student singing group along Rugby Road. Another, Frank Song, says the article carved a path of destruction by portraying administrators and students as indifferent to rape.

“They’re grouping UVA students all together as a whole and blaming all of us, and then we are turning around and grouping fraternities as a whole and blaming them. And that’s exactly what we do in in wars.”

Sandra Menendez lives on the Lawn and volunteers for the UVA Women’s Center. Having read about the unreliability of human memory in the wake of trauma, Menendez shakes her head at Rolling Stone, which in its retraction, attacked the veracity of Jackie.

“I do believe that she was raped. I do think also that there are probably parts of the story that might be false that might be result of post-traumatic stress disorder or false recall.”

One thing students agree on is that Rolling Stone hurt Jackie with its failure to contact sources who could have corroborated, refuted, or just clarified what happened.

“I think the incident that we’re dealing with now is a blend of the brain in trauma but also, I would have to say, irresponsible journalism.”

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About briandmahan

Following a catastrophic automobile accident several years ago, I began suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was hit by one of two cars that were racing on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles. And, although I walked away from the accident, I began to have several FULL-BLOWN panic attacks a day (I didn’t even know they were panic attacks; I just thought I was going crazy). But, after just a few sessions with a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, my anxiety and panic attacks ceased and I haven't had one in 9 years. In fact, my life changed so dramatically and quickly, I decided to train in the same technique. Upon completing a three-year training program studying Somatic Experiencing, the work of Peter Levine, PhD., my self-obsessed passion for healing and personal transformation shifted. I've been blessed to be able to help and assist other survivors of unresolved past traumatic events, who suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Depression and Stress to feel safe, joyful and to take take control of their lives again. And, now, I consider that car wreck to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. It’s my passion for the past 9 years to share my story, experience, and know-how with others, like you, who may simply have been trying to heal with the wrong approaches. (You can’t heal a toothache by getting a massage.) I am not a psychologist, a medical doctor or a spiritual healer. I am a trauma survivor. And I have come to understand that PTSD, anxiety, panic, stress and depression are physiological conditions more so than they are psychological disorders. I hold retreats, workshops and free seminars, focused on establishing a sense of safety and re-awakening embodiment through healing stress and trauma. I also offer one-on-one sessions both face-to-face for local clients and by Phone and SKYPE for clients nationwide and internationally.
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