NEW YORK — The furor over a retracted Rolling Stone article may deter some rape victims from coming forward, but the national campaign to curb sexual assaults on college campuses will keep gaining strength, according to advocates who have been following the high-profile case.

The November 2014 article, purporting to describe a vicious gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house, was retracted by Rolling Stone on Sunday after the Columbia Journalism School issued a scathing critique of how the story was reported and edited. The critical report followed an announcement by police officials last month that investigators had found no evidence to back the claims of the alleged victim.

Advocates for victims of sexual assault, in interviews Monday, had mixed views on the legacy of the Rolling Stone article.

“I’m afraid this will perpetuate the myth that sexual assault on campus is this made-up phenomenon,” said Alison Kiss, executive director of the Clery Center for Security On Campus. “It puts a lot more on the plate of those who are working to combat it.”

Kiss described on-campus sexual assault as an epidemic that needs to be addressed aggressively. The rate of false reports, she said, is between 2 percent and 10 percent.

At the University of California-Los Angeles, Savannah Badalich also worried that the Rolling Stone retraction might dissuade some assault victims from coming forward. Badalich, a senior, has written about being sexually assaulted during her sophomore year and deciding not to report the incident. She subsequently founded a group called 7,000 in Solidarity that campaigns against sexual violence on campus.

Rolling Stone, she said, did a disservice to the woman in its article by not fact-checking her account more rigorously.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.