URG students discuss date rape


National speaker addresses students

By Dean Wright - deanwright@aimmediamidwest.com



One University of Rio Grande student weighs in with his opinion on a date rape scenario put forth by event speaker Katie Koestner and her colleague Kent State Director of Conduct Todd Kamenash.

One University of Rio Grande student weighs in with his opinion on a date rape scenario put forth by event speaker Katie Koestner and her colleague Kent State Director of Conduct Todd Kamenash.


Dean Wright | Daily Tribune

Katie Koestner speaks to University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College students about her personal struggles against sexual violence and how she made it her mission to inform others of the dangers surrounding date rape.


Dean Wright | Daily Tribune

Katie Koestner, left, stands with Todd Kamenash, right, as they both describe a date rape scenario to University of Rio Grande students before letting the students weigh in with their opinions.


Dean Wright | Daily Tribune

RIO GRANDE — Can you imagine someone you dated trying to get you to do something you did not want to do, and after you told them to stop they said you just need to stop thinking and start feeling and promised the night was going to be very special?

Because that is what happened to Katie Koestner before she was raped.

“Right now, wherever you are in life, are you strong enough to stand alone for a cause that you may not even want because you think it’s the right thing to do to keep it from happening to someone else?” said Koestner as she shared her tale with University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College students in the Berry Fine and Performing Arts Center Sunday evening.

Koestner was 18 in 1990 when she went on a date with a fellow college student before she was raped. After that moment, she made it her life’s mission to become an expert in young adult dating culture and a mouthpiece against the dangers of rape and sexual violence. She has been featured on the cover of Time magazine as well as dozens of national television programs for her story.

The event speaker started the evening’s program with lighthearted shared life experiences which had students laughing before she built to the moment where she described her rape in detail. URG President Dr. Michelle Johnston first invited Koestner to the stage and told students that if at any time they needed to leave the room, they were welcome to speak with an advocate in the hall.

Koestner had gone out with a young man, drank before eventually inviting the man into her room. The man then failed to heed Koestner’s protests. Koestner is often considered the first date rape survivor to speak publicly. Her story made national news when her case was dismissed in court. Through her story and influence, federal student safety legislation has been passed in Washington D.C.

Koestner would eventually invite Kent State Director of Conduct Todd Kamenash onto the stage with her to share in a date rape scenario where she would impersonate a young woman and Kamenash would impersonate the young man involved in that scenario. After, students were asked to share their opinions of the story and then vote on to whether the young man was at fault for rape. Throughout the story, both characters had been drinking and would eventually be at a house party. The young woman was sick at one point and invited back upstairs to sleep off her intoxication. The young man claimed the girl grabbed ahold of him and wanted to begin kissing before she passed out. She would then wake up and claim she was ready to start again.

Over 90 percent of the students in the fine arts center agreed the young man was at fault. Kamenash would share with students that many colleges throughout the country took a stance that if one was intoxicated, he or she was incapable by the college’s policy definition of providing consent for sexual relations.

During the rounds of shared student opinions, one young unnamed woman shared her personal experience with assault.

“I voted the way I did (that the young man was at fault) because this all takes a personal toll on me,” the woman said. “Three years ago, I was in an abusive relationship. And in a relationship, no still means no. No matter how you feel about that person. No matter what you’ve done with that person, every time you decide yes or no. For me, there was one time the abuse was so bad that I didn’t get to say no. So for those of you that are making excuses (for the young man), I feel bad for you and I feel bad for whoever you’re with because no means no. There’s no ‘unless.’ There’s no ‘we were dating and in a relationship and having a good time, we were doing this and doing that.’ No. No means no. Every single time. No means no.”

The room opened in applause at the end of her statement.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

One University of Rio Grande student weighs in with his opinion on a date rape scenario put forth by event speaker Katie Koestner and her colleague Kent State Director of Conduct Todd Kamenash.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2017/09/web1_DSC_0125.jpgOne University of Rio Grande student weighs in with his opinion on a date rape scenario put forth by event speaker Katie Koestner and her colleague Kent State Director of Conduct Todd Kamenash. Dean Wright | Daily Tribune

Katie Koestner speaks to University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College students about her personal struggles against sexual violence and how she made it her mission to inform others of the dangers surrounding date rape.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2017/09/web1_DSC_0067.jpgKatie Koestner speaks to University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College students about her personal struggles against sexual violence and how she made it her mission to inform others of the dangers surrounding date rape. Dean Wright | Daily Tribune

Katie Koestner, left, stands with Todd Kamenash, right, as they both describe a date rape scenario to University of Rio Grande students before letting the students weigh in with their opinions.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2017/09/web1_DSC_00853.jpgKatie Koestner, left, stands with Todd Kamenash, right, as they both describe a date rape scenario to University of Rio Grande students before letting the students weigh in with their opinions. Dean Wright | Daily Tribune
National speaker addresses students

By Dean Wright

deanwright@aimmediamidwest.com

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU