Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who are pushing a bill to reform how campus sexual assaults are handled, said today that they hope reform efforts can overcome the recent Rolling Stone story and apology that have sparked criticism and discussion about campus rape and survivors.
“I am saddened and angry about the bad journalism in the Rolling Stone [sic] concerning an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia,” McCaskill said. “I am sad and angry because it is a setback for survivors in this country.”
Gillibrand said she hopes “this story will not ultimately outshine the story of thousands of brave women and men telling their stories. I refuse to let this one story become an excuse for Congress not to fix a broken system.” Gillibrand said the story’s possible inaccuracy does not change the fact that UVA “has admitted that they have allowed students who have confessed to sexually assaulting another student to remain on campus” and noted that the problem has never been about just one school.
In November, Rolling Stone published an explosive story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, relying on the account of the victim. It later apologized to readers, revealing it believed her story contained inaccuracies.
In late July, McCaskill and Gillibrand introduced as cosponsors the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, a bill that would create new resources on college campuses, implement new training standards for school staff, and delineate penalties for schools that do not adequately report crimes and supply resources to students and victims.
McCaskill and Gillibrand formerly took the lead on introducing legislation to confront sexual assault in the military.
They testified today as witnesses at a sparsely attended hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism on campus sexual assault and the role of law enforcement.