Examining the Media’s Role in Sexual Assault Allegations

Update: Lena Dunham’s publisher has since come out stating that her alleged rapist “Barry” wasn’t actually named Barry.

In light of the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, the UVA rape story in Rolling Stone magazine and Lena Dunham’s accusations in her new book that she was raped, Chris Markowski and Jenna Laine discuss the media’s role in giving accusers a voice. Late last week, Rolling Stone had to issue an apology for the piece it ran on an alleged UVA gang-rape based on the lack of credibility of the accuser.Meanwhile, the news outlet Brietbart has investigated Dunham’s claims, with no luck tracking down “Barry, the mustachioed campus Republican.”

The media plays a powerful role in giving sexual assault accusers a voice. While every effort needs to be made to respect victim privacy and these cases need to be treated with the utmost sensitivity and respect, there also need to be more diligent fact-checking by the media. Innocent people shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of this because of a news outlet or books’ oversight.

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