RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College will host Katie Koestner, the first date rape survivor to speak out publicly, Sunday at 7 p.m in the Berry Fine and Performing Arts Center.
Koestner is a reported national expert on student safety and teen relationship culture. Her story made national headlines in 1990, including a 1991 cover of TIME Magazine, when the then 18 year-old college freshman’s case was dismissed for “lack of evidence.” She is the subject of an HBO movie and has lectured at over 3,000 schools in North America. Through advocacy work and her personal testimony, Koestner has been influential to federal student safety legislation passed on Capitol Hill. She is also executive director for several non-profit rape awareness and survivor advocacy organizations and an active advocate for date rape survivors.
According to BBC.com, Koestner would go through a hearing at her university which said it would not allow her attacker to live in her residence hall until the end of the semester. A dean however suggested Koestner should give her attacker a chance as they seemed like a “nice couple.” Koestner would eventually write a letter to a newspaper which was then subsequently picked up by the Associated Press before her story became national news.
The Office of Student Affairs and Redstorm Athletics will host the event. The presentation is intended to lead students to consider what they can do to reduce sexual violence. The college the public to the event free of charge to create awareness surrounding the issue.
The Rio Grande institution has also achieved four out of five recommendations in regards to the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Changing Campus Culture Initiative. The program first launched in October 2015. The effort aims to encourage Ohio colleges and universities to respond to and prevent campus sexual violence more effectively. Around $2 million was put towards Ohio’s institutions for higher learning With Gov. John Kasich’s approval. Around 80 Ohio campuses have reported back on their progress towards filling the five recommendations.