Date rape victim shares story, advice with BYU audience

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    By Suzette Grebe

    Katie Koestner shared her personal story of date rape with BYU students Jan. 17.

    While attending the College of William and Mary, Koestner began to hang out with a fellow student. On their first official date, he raped her.

    Koestner described in detail the experience.

    “It struck me first that I would not be able to get my legs out from under him,” Koestner said. “I felt trapped and asked him to please get off.”

    He became angry and just went to sleep. “I can”t tell you why I didn”t throw him out of my room,” Koestner said.

    Koestner said he woke up around 5 a.m. and apologized. She said she then felt safe and let down her guard. As she began to fall asleep, he forced himself on her.

    This situation is not uncommon. In 84 percent of rapes, the victim knows the assailant.

    “The part I remember the most is when all his weight was off me,” Koestner said. “There was this feeling like I was going to be okay.”

    The assailant, Peter, was found guilty by the dean of the university. As punishment, he was not allowed to enter the residence hall the rest of the semester.

    Koestner said it is essential if a person is raped to report the assault within 72 hours in order to gather evidence.

    “If you want to know why I do this, I”ll tell you. I want a day with no rape,” Koestner said, speaking of her reasons for sharing her own experience.

    Many students who did not attend the program may feel the topic does not pertain to them. Koestner feels otherwise.

    In the four years she has come to Provo, Koestner said she has heard 50 stories of rape from BYU students.

    “I”m asking you to look very hard within the bubble of BYU,” Koestner said. “It is so important to recognize sexual assault can happen anywhere … even here.”

    The difference between rape and sex is consent, Koestner said. People define consent in different ways.

    Consent is a freely given mutually understood agreement. Unfortunately some people do not understand “No” — even after 12 times, Koestner said.

    “I think it is sad not to trust people, but it is better to be aware,” she said.

    Koestner stressed that one man taking a stand against rape can make more of a difference than 1,000 stories.

    “I hope that people actually do something about it,” said Sara Orgill, president of the Residence Halls Association. “We are commanded to bear one another”s burdens and that would include being aware of what”s going on.”

    Three things to remember when dating are to be responsible, use communication and show respect, Koestner said.

    “Be strong for yourself and not anyone else,” Koestner said. “I learned the hard way.”

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