I got a pingback on my blog—that basically means someone referenced me in another blog—from a blog called “Hell Funny.” The author of the blog is a writer for an alternative newspaper and a self-described survivor of sexual assault. (She says she was in “an abusive relationship,” but, at least in this post, doesn’t give any specifics. In this blog post, she does, but the definition of sexual assault that she seems to be suggesting is…well, you be the judge.)

The argument of this woman: Journalism has let her and other sexual assault victims down by questioning Jackie’s story.

She writes:

How could Richard Bradley, the editor-in-chief of Worth magazine, be so dismissive as to reduce the account to “apocryphal tropes”? How can journalism, the profession that I so deeply love and the field that saved me, be failing me as a survivor of the trauma that has so shaped the journalist I am?

Journalists calling for higher level of scrutiny in sexual assault stories, or suggesting that more cases be treated as potential false reports, are not improving journalism. They are falling back on rape-culture tropes and weighing survivors down with an even heavier burden of proof than the one we must already carry. Instead, they should be educating themselves on the realities of trauma and focusing on how to improve their reporting on sexual violence.

She posted this today, by the way.

I’m all for learning more about the realities of trauma and reporting on sexual violence if that’s what you’re covering. But there’s a problem: Jackie’s story wasn’t about sexual violence. It was about an emotionally disturbed girl who appears to have been engaging in catfishing to make someone jealous. The only sexual manipulation that we know for sure happened here was perpetuated by Jackie.

So that line about how “journalists calling for a higher level of scrutiny in sexual assault stories…are not improving journalism?” Sorry, I can’t agree. A higher level of scrutiny would have saved people an enormous amount of pain in the Tawana Brawley case…the Duke lacrosse case…the Patrick Witt case…and the University of Virginia case. (I’m sure there are plenty of other examples.)

It doesn’t mean we abandon sensitivity when reporting on those who allege rape; journalists should be sensitive to the victims of any crimes, especially ones that are deeply physically and emotionally painful. It does mean that we don’t abandon our professionalism.