Date rape: Her experience first brought it to light


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For 25 years, Katherine  H. Koestner has relived the worst moment of her life.

Wednesday night, she relived it in a soft voice before an intimate gathering of 30 people at Elmira College.

Elsewhere, she has relived it thousands of times before thousands of students at major universities, on TV on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Larry King Live” or in the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post.

The life-changing experience came in fall 1990 when Koestner, then a petite, trusting, sheltered 105-pound freshman at the College of William & Mary, said she was raped in her dorm room despite a dozen “no’s.” She said a 19-year-old student she liked but only knew for weeks, wowed her with a fancy dinner out, and after a romantic dance in her room, assaulted her.

“It was bad because I was so sober. I didn’t see it coming,” said Koestner, who was 18 at the time.

She said she couldn’t let it go because she knew if she did nothing, another girl would fall victim and it would be her fault for not speaking out.

She didn’t expect the fallout when she sought justice. She said her room and car were vandalized, a college official told her they made a good couple and should get back together, a female college dean told her to go home and rethink making serious charges and the local district attorney refused to press charges, saying her attacker had millions of dollars and she couldn’t win.

She said a call to her own father, an FBI agent, led to this reply: “You should have not had him in your room, then it wouldn’t have happened.” He then hung up, she said.

Her sharing of the experience gave root to a new word on the nation’s college campuses, “date rape,” landed her on the June 1991 cover of Time magazine and an HBO documentary was made about her. She helped the Campus Sexaul Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights become law in 1992 and is now executive director of the Take Back the Night Foundation, which sponsors rallies and works internationally to fight domestic violence.

Source: http://www.stargazette.com/story/news/2015/10/07/safety-expert-speaks-ec-koestner/73543332/


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