by Brian L. Brink
Up until 1990 the term rape meant stranger rape. It wasn’t until people like Katie Koestner began speaking out that people realized rape can happen even if you know the person.
Koestner spoke at Thiel College on Wednesday, Oct. 25, about her struggle against sexual assault.
She went to college to study chemical engineering and Japanese. Once at the College of William & Mary in Virginia she flung herself into campus life. She joined a band and the church youth group.
About a week into her first semester she met a guy. She described him as incredibly handsome and dreamy.
A couple days after meeting him, he asked her out on a date. She stated that she was very excited and wore her best dress. He took her to a fancy French restaurant where the waiter spoke French and the guy ordered for both of them in French.
Koestner stated that at dinner he convinced her to drink even after she told him she didn’t. He then asked her to his family’s house in Greece for the summer. He said that if she went with him she would have to know four things.
The first was that she would have to dress appropriately for different occasions while there. The second was that there would be nights when she would have to stay at the house and only the men would go out. The third was that she would have to drink while there, even though she had already told him that she didn’t drink. The last thing is that she would have to have sex with him anytime he wanted it, no matter what.
After dinner, Koestner invited him back to her room because knew that there was no alcohol there. She stated how she didn’t think it would be weird to have a guy over just to hang out.
In her room, she said, they started to dance. While dancing he tried to undo her buttons, so she pushed him away.
Koestner stated that he pushed her down onto the pink carpet and got on top of her. He was much bigger than she was, so she couldn’t get free. She didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
She told him, “No,” and “Please get off.” That’s when she lost her virginity against her will.
The next morning, she went to the health center and they just sent her home with sleeping pills. Then she went to the dean and he said, “You could ruin his life and you seem emotionally distraught, so you should go home and think carefully about this.”
After that, the guy started stalking her, leaving note and voicemails for her.
That’s when she finally told her dad. However, after telling him that she invited the guy into her room her dad said, “It would not have happened if you had not let him in your room, Katie.”
Her friends and his friends set up a meeting between the two of them to settle everything. It was after the meeting she had a choice to make. Turning left would take her back to her residence hall and a quiet life; turning right would take her to the police station.
Koestner chose to turn right.
After a long line of questioning the district attorney decided that they had a small chance of winning. The DA told her that “forcible rape” would have meant she would’ve had to fight him off.
She stated that her last option was the university disciplinary system. During the seven-hour hearing, her attacker did admit that she told him, “no.”
The day after the hearing the dean called her into his office. He told her that she and her attacker made a cute couple and should try getting back together.
Koestner was so angry because of that meeting that she sent a letter to the local newspaper. She used her full name to make sure that they knew she was real.
After her story was picked up by the Associated Press it spread like wildfire.
Koestner went on to become a public speaker and an advocate for survivors of sexual assault. She has spoken at more than 1700 colleges across North America in hopes of ending rape on college campuses for good.