The writer of a Rolling Stone magazine article on rape at the University of Virginia says she chose to focus on UVA after talking with college students nationwide. The article titled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” was published Wednesday. The article focuses on what it calls "a culture of rape" at UVA and several women who share disturbing stories about what they say happened to them.
Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author, says as she searched across the country for the right school to write about, and UVA kept coming up in conversation. She finally settled on the school as her choice.
NBC29's Sean Cudahy spoke to Erdely Thursday via Facetime. She said she had a list of criteria, certain qualities she was looking for in a school - and UVA had all of them.
“I was looking to focus on a school that was elite, a respected school, but also one where the culture felt representative of what's going on on campuses across the country,” said Erdely. “UVA though seemed like a place where everybody could kind of relate to it in some way.”
She also wanted a school with an open Title IX sexual violence investigation. Title IX is the federal law that prohibits schools from discriminating on the basis of gender. UVA, along with 87 other schools, is under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling on sexual violence and harassment complaints.
According to the Department of Education; four other schools in Virginia including the College of William and Mary, James Madison University, Virginia Military Institute, and the University of Richmond are being investigated.
Erdely also spoke on the resistance she faced when attempting to reach administrators at UVA for information and statistics on sexual misconduct on campus.
"The UVA administration was very resistant to me, they were not happy about my doing the article, they blocked my access to key administrators who could have given me valuable information on how they handle sexual assault." she said. "They were very reluctant to give me statistics that would've shed a lot of light on how they handle sexual assault and I think that lack of transparency is really a reflection of the way that they deal with sexual assault in general; it's the way that they handle their own student body."
Erdely says she thinks nearly all universities have problems when it comes to sexual assaults, But the stories she heard when talking to people at UVA put it over the top.
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