The controversy surrounding a University of Virginia student identified in a Rolling Stone feature article as “Jackie,” an alleged victim of a fraternity gang rape, has become hostile enough to retraumatize her, says her lawyer. According to the lawyer, Palma Pustilnik, the recent national attention from media and peers has been a hardship for her client.
“As I am sure you can all understand, all of this has been very stressful, overwhelming and retraumatizing for Jackie and her family,” Pustilnik said in a statement, according to ABC News. Pustilnik alluded to threats that were made toward her client as the case drew intense national attention. “I will also take this opportunity to let others know that threats and attempts to extort and/or intimidate have been and will continue to be reported to the appropriate authorities.”
Pustilnik says that Jackie and her family have been aggressively contacted “regarding statements, interviews, information, etc.” by those who have managed to determine her identity, although it was kept secret by Rolling Stone. Jackie’s attorney is asking that all requests go through her instead of directly to her client.
“No comment” continues to be Pustilnik’s response to criticism of Jackie’s accusations after new details were reported that challenged the authenticity of the account in the article. Rolling Stone issued an apology to its readers after it was revealed by several media outlets that the reporter had not contacted any of the accused men and that the account contained discrepancies.
Pustilnik is an attorney at the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society in Charlottesville, where the University of Virginia is also located. The practice is predominantly focused on helping survivors of domestic and sexual violence.