Scrutinize headlines

You cover a rape trial in which Matt Hamilton is accused of using a date rape drug to incapacitate a woman before sexually assaulting her [August 25 cover story: "Her day in court: UVA rape case goes to trial"]. The vernacular for these drugs is "roofie." On page 68 under "Glances" is an ad headlined "You– roofie hungry blond sitting at the bar."

This is one small example of how media contribute to a rape culture which often blames survivors rather than the men who harass, molest, and rape them.

I hope that this ad simply escaped notice of the editors. Please educate and supervise your advertising headline writer.

As for your coverage of the trial, your piece focuses more on the cross examination of the survivor than the alleged attacker. Your reporting could, instead, have stated that the defense raised totally erroneous questions about the survivor's personal life and coping skills. It is widely understood in the trauma field that survivors can suffer anguish while functioning superbly in many areas of their life. They still need and deserve compassion and respect.

It's interesting that lawyers and journalists often expect women to cease functioning when they are traumatized. But when a man is traumatized, no one says, "Look how well he's doing in school. It couldn't have been that bad– he's probably lying."

Jim McKinley-Oakes