Katie Koestner

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Katie Koestner in 2018.

Katherine H. Koestner is an American activist against sexual assault. She came forward publicly after an alleged rape in 1990 that took place on William and Mary campus which involved her and her date. Koestner started speaking out about her experience in 1991 by lecturing at other college campuses to raise awareness. She also volunteered in rape crisis centers. She was featured in the media, including an HBO special, No Visible Bruises: The Katie Koestner Story (1993). Koestner's work and activism has helped the term "date rape" become part of the larger discussion around rape and sexual assault. Koestner founded several campus sexual assault prevention groups after graduating from the College of William & Mary in 1994. Koester is the current director of the Take Back the Night Foundation, president of Campus Outreach Services and serves as an adivisor for other organizations to help prevent rape and other forms of sexual violence .

Early life and assault[edit]

Koestner is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[1] In the fall of 1990, she enrolled in William and Mary (W&M) where she planned to study chemical engineering and Japanese.[1][2] Koestner was allegedly raped by a student she had been dating for just over a week.[3] She had invited the student back to her dorm room after a date.[4] They had gone on a date to a French restaurant and Koestner wanted to spend time alone with him afterwards.[3] After inviting him in, she says he began to pressure her to have sex with him, continuing to pressure until nearly dawn.[4] She ended up being pinned against the wall by her date.[5][6] Koestner said that she felt tired and weak after hours of arguing about sex and said, "He just wore me down all night. I couldn't do anything."[7] She said her date "climbed on top of her and had sex despite her protests."[8] She said she felt "paralyzed" and that "he had a ginormous ego, and had always had what he wanted in life".[6]

Koestner did not receive any kind of medical examination until 24 hours had passed.[9] Her former date left her notes and friends tried to arrange a meeting between them, hoping things could be patched up between them.[6] She met him in his dorm lounge where she confronted him and asked if he'd heard her say "no."[6] He countered by saying that he heard that Koestner's father was angry with her for no longer being a virgin and that they needed more practice together because she was a "little stiff the first time round."[6] Koestner also felt that her rape was not "taken seriously" by the school nurse who advised her to take sleeping pills and "rest the events off" instead of getting a rape kit.[10] Instead of filing a police report, she was asked to pursue an administrative hearing at W&M.[9] The dean of students told her it was easier to pursue her complaint through the judicial process at the college.[7] During the hearing, the alleged rapist said he heard Koestner say "no" at least 12 times that night.[10] It was decided at the hearing that there should not be a severe punishment for the rape and the perpetrator was allowed to stay "on campus on the condition that he not enter anyone's living quarters."[9] There were "mitigating circumstances" according to administrators that allowed the alleged rapist to stay on campus.[11]

Publicity[edit]

Because she felt a lack of support from her roommate and other women in her all-female dorm, within a couple of months after she was assaulted, Koestner moved to new quarters on campus.[12] Her parents were also unsupportive of her.[13] Nevertheless, in 1991, Koestner came forward publicly and stated that she was the unnamed victim in the campus hearing of the rape.[14] The letter that she sent to her local paper trended nationwide.[15] Koestner appeared on the cover of TIME magazine.[16] She appeared on Larry King Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Jane Whitney Show, CNBC Talk Live, and was featured in the Washington Post.[17][18] The publicity caused Governor Doug Wilder to ask officials involved in education in Virginia to study campus rape.[19] A few years after Koestner came forward publicly, W&M changed their policies so that students found guilty of sexual assault are required to be suspended.[20] Koestner faced backlash for her public story about the rape: she received prank phone calls and social stigma from other classmates.[19]

Koestner chose to come forward to give a human face to the issue of date rape and also because she felt like the academic hearing was a "second victimization."[17][21][22] Koestner wanted justice.[19] It was pointed out that while having a C average and being on academic probation could lead to expulsion, a decision that a rape occurred in the hearing did not lead to a similar punishment.[23] The alleged rapist came forward anonymously in the press to state that he felt the situation was exaggerated: he had been convicted by the hearing of "emotionally pressuring, not physically forcing Koestner to have intercourse."[17] He also said that he believed that Koestner was falsely accusing him of rape because she "began to express regrets" about having intercourse.[19]

In 1991, Koestner transferred to Cornell University, but came back to W&M after a year after the student who allegedly raped her had been expelled.[24][25] Controversy over her paid role in a planned HBO dramatization about her experience led to the creation of a petition that asked for the "man's point of view" to be considered in the story.[24] The leader of the petition campaign was the current girlfriend of Koestner's alleged rapist.[26] The petition signers said that the name of the alleged rapist was known on the small campus and that he would be "ruined."[19] The school paper received letters to the editor criticizing Koestner for not reporting the rape sooner.[20] Koestner appeared in the HBO dramatization, No Visible Bruises: The Katie Koestner Story in 1993.[27] No Visible Bruises was a 1/2 hour special that was part of HBO's series, Life Stories: Families in Crisis.[26] Koestner started giving workshops about preventing sexual assault and also on sexual assault policies on college campuses.[28][29][30] Her appearances were considered "divisive" by some students at the time.[31] Koestner graduated from W&M in 1994, majoring in public policy and women's studies.[24][32]

Groups[edit]

Koestner founded the educational organizaion, Campus Outreach Services in 1994.[33] She also founded Students Helping Others to Understand Trauma (SHOUT) at Cornell University and at W&M started the Sexual Assault Companions Program.[34] She also volunteered at a rape crisis center and became a certified peer-educator ad sexual assault counselor in Virginia.[32][34] She became the executive director of the Take Back the Night Foundation.[35] She has been published online and in print.[36] It was Koestner's efforts that brought the concept and term "date rape" to public attention.[15][18] Koestner was the first victim of date rape to publicly come forward about her experience.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Walzer, Philip (April 14, 1996). "W&M Students Split Over Ex-Student Who'll Speak About Sexual Assault". The Virginian-Pilot. Archived from the original on November 5, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via HighBeam Research.
  2. ^ Jamieson, Bob (October 7, 2015). "Date rape: Her experience first brought it to light". Elmira Star-Gazette. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Grave, Leonor (January 23, 2017). "Making the personal political: Katie Koestner '94 speaks out, changes national conversation on rape". Flat Hat News. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Olen, Helaine; Ostrow, Ronald J. (April 23, 1991). "Date-Rape Gains Attention After Years as Taboo Topic". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. and "Date-Rape: Change in Victims' Attitudes Seen". The Los Angeles Times. April 23, 1991. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Young, Kelly E. (May 13, 1997). "Rape Victim tells Story of Assault". Stanford Daily.
  6. ^ a b c d e "How I convinced the world you can be raped by your date". BBC News. June 2, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  7. ^ a b LaFay, Laura (April 7, 1991). "STUDENT'S DATE-RAPE COMPLAINT JOLTS WILLIAM AND MARY". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  8. ^ "Don't Blame Katie Koestner for Her Story". Daily Press. January 15, 1993. Retrieved November 1, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ a b c Wilson, John K. (1995). The Myth of Political Correctness: The Conservative Attack on Higher Education. Duke University Press. p. 110. ISBN 0822317133.
  10. ^ a b McAfee, Michelle (April 17, 1997). "No Official Bruises: The Katie Koestner Story". Broadside.
  11. ^ Spencer, Jim (April 5, 1991). "Colleges Aren't Taking Rape Seriously Enough". The Anniston Star. Retrieved October 25, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Olen, Helaine; Ostrow, Ronald J. (April 23, 1991). "Date-Rape Gains Attention After Years as Taboo Topic". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. and "Date-Rape: Change in Victims' Attitudes Seen". The Los Angeles Times. April 23, 1991. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Young, Kelly E. (May 13, 1997). "Rape Victim tells Story of Assault". Stanford Daily.
  14. ^ Clary, Charles (April 12, 1991). "W&M Examines Policy on Assaults". Daily Press. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. and "W&M". Daily Press. April 12, 1991. p. C4. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ a b Petersen, Lilli (June 4, 2016). "How This Woman Made The World Acknowledge Date Rape". Refinery29. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  16. ^ Kilmartin, Christopher; Allison, Julie (May 13, 2013). Men's Violence Against Women: Theory, Research, and Activism. Psychology Press. p. 84. ISBN 1135597960.
  17. ^ a b c Couto, Lucinda (May 1, 1991). "Alleged Date Rapist Rebuts Woman's Story". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved October 25, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ a b LaRoi, Heather (October 19, 1997). "Date Rape Victim to Talk at LU Today About Assault, Harassment". The Post-Crescent. Retrieved November 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ a b c d e Nesbitt, Jim (November 18, 1991). "A Date That Went Wrong Has Changed Her Life". The Dispatch. Retrieved November 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. and "Rape". The Dispatch. November 18, 1991. Retrieved November 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ a b "Don't Blame Katie Koestner for Her Story". Daily Press. January 15, 1993. Retrieved November 1, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ LaFay, Laura (April 7, 1991). "STUDENT'S DATE-RAPE COMPLAINT JOLTS WILLIAM AND MARY". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  22. ^ Clary, Charles (April 26, 1991). "W&M Student Tells Panel About Sex Assault". Daily Press. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. and "W&M". Daily Press. April 26, 1991. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ Spencer, Jim (April 5, 1991). "Colleges Aren't Taking Rape Seriously Enough". The Anniston Star. Retrieved October 25, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ a b c Walzer, Philip (April 14, 1996). "W&M Students Split Over Ex-Student Who'll Speak About Sexual Assault". The Virginian-Pilot. Archived from the original on November 5, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via HighBeam Research.
  25. ^ Sorra, Cecile (April 30, 1993). "Woman Tells of Date With Pain, Betrayal". The Daily Item. Retrieved November 1, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ a b Smith, Matt (January 13, 1993). "Students Question Date-Rape Program". Daily Press. Retrieved November 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. and "Program". Daily Press. January 13, 1993. p. B2. Retrieved November 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ Saulsgiver, Kathryn (January 14, 1998). "Speaker Shares Rape Story". Alligator.
  28. ^ "Internationally-known Date-rape Survivor, Katie Koestner, Will Speak Sept. 29 at GWU". The Gaffney Ledger. September 23, 1998. Retrieved November 1, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ Ipsen, Beth (February 10, 1991). "Koestner to Speak on Date-Rape". Angelo State RamPage.
  30. ^ Saucer, Caroline (May 18, 1994). "Date Rape Victim Speaks Out". Finger Lake Times.
  31. ^ Karolyi, Anne (February 15, 1995). "Activist's Presence Divides, Then Teaches Seminary Students". The Times Leader. Retrieved November 1, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ a b Grave, Leonor (January 23, 2017). "Making the personal political: Katie Koestner '94 speaks out, changes national conversation on rape". Flat Hat News. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  33. ^ Jamieson, Bob (October 7, 2015). "Date rape: Her experience first brought it to light". Elmira Star-Gazette. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  34. ^ a b DeRosa, II, Edward J. (October 8, 2000). "Date Rape Topic of Denison Conference". The Newark Advocate. Retrieved November 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  35. ^ Looker, Rachel (November 15, 2015), Take Back the Night Speaker talked about relationship violence, retrieved November 1, 2018
  36. ^ "Publications". Katie Koestner. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  37. ^ "Rape Victim to Speak at MPTC". Fond Du Lac Commonwealth Reporter. October 2, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.

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