Date-rape survivor addresses on-campus students

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    By KIMBERLY DEMUCHA

    No means no, said Katie Koestner, a date-rape survivor, to a large audience at WSC Ballroom Wednesday evening.

    The Residence Halls Association sponsored the event. At their request, Koestner has spoken on campus four times.

    “It is important that students are aware that things like this can happen,” Andrea Pimental, a member of the executive board of the residence halls association, said.

    “The men on this campus will someday be fathers, bishops, and home teachers, making this an important topic for them to hear too,” said Pimental, a freshman, majoring in industrial design.

    Though all students were invited to attend, the speech was specifically directed to the students living on campus, she said.

    As a college freshman Koestner experienced what she called the worst night of her life. She wasn’t mugged in a dark alley or attacked by a stranger in the park, she was raped by her date, Peter, she said.

    According to Koestner, strangers commit only 16 percent of all rapes. The remaining 84 percent of victims know their attackers.

    Koestner explained to the audience what the difference was between rape and sex. She said 20 years ago force constituted rape, but in the year 2000, lack of consent equals rape.

    Koestner explained consent as a freely given, mutually understandable agreement between two people. Without this consent, then sex becomes rape.

    A large portion of Koestner’s speech was directed to the men whom were present. After commending them for their attendance, she called on them for their help.

    “Rapists don’t respect women, so I’m not going to change them. I need your voice,” Koestner said.

    “This is not about bashing men, it is about asking them for help,” she said.

    “I challenge the men to do better. Don’t wait until someone you love is crying on your shoulder having been raped, it’s too late,” Koestner said. “Take a stand. It’s not a joke. Rape is wrong,” she said.

    Koestner also offered advice to those who know someone who has been raped. She said it was important to support them, believe them and urge them to seek help from the proper authorities. Under no condition should they be pried for details, she said.

    Though women are not responsible for being assaulted, there are ways that they can reduce their risk of being raped. Being informed, trusting your instincts, and being prepared are just a few of the suggestions offered by the Utah County Rape Crisis Team.

    The Center for Women and Children in Crisis, Inc., urges women to seek safety, call 911, and preserve as much evidence as possible. Up to three days after the assault valuable evidence can still be collected, according to the center.

    As she ended her speech, Koestner issued one final challenge.

    “It is so nice here, it’s not all like BYU. Will you live in your ivory tower, or will you come out and help? I can’t do it alone. I challenge you this year to make a difference, not just at BYU, but everywhere.”

    “I felt it was so empowering, for me and the men. I’ve walked away with a totally different perspective,” said Shaela Wells, 19, a sophomore from Las Vegas, Nev., majoring in athletic training.

    “Katie did a great job explaining what date rape is and how serious it is. A lot of things need to be done to educate both men and women about rape and preventing,” said Cameron Sawyer, 23, a junior from Orem, majoring in broadcast journalism.

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