Fifteen Minutes: An Unsilenced Voice: Katie Koestner on Rape, Reaction and Change

FM: Katie, please retell your story in whatever detail you feel comfortable with.

Katie: I was raped when I was a freshman at William and Mary. It was the third weekend at school. We were out for dinner and a date; it was a guy I knew, Peter. He didn’t throw me up against a wall. He didn’t push me. He didn’t hit. We went back to my room after dinner, and we were hanging out. I told him I didn’t want to have sex. Initially, he said that he respected that. As the night wore on, I think that it was a blow to his ego that I wasn’t telling him yes. He tried to convince me that I did want to have sex with him. I kept on persisting that I did not. He gave up and went to sleep and I thought if he ever called me again, I would just politely decline. That’s why I never kicked him out of my room. He woke up when the sun was coming up, around 5:30 in the morning. I had stayed awake the whole time he was sleeping. He started saying how he was so sorry and apologizing for his behavior. I thought he really meant it so I let down my guard again. That’s when he started everything up again, kissing my neck and trying to have sex with me, and the next thing I know is that he’s over by the door telling me thank you very much.

Harvard students think that your admission’s office doesn’t let in rapists. But, rapists can be anyone. William and Mary isn’t Harvard but it’s a really good school. We probably have the same SAT scores, Peter and I. Who says it isn’t there when it happens? A lot of students are trying to get this covered at orientation, and this is important. For women their highest risk of being raped is the first day of college to the first break. Of course, every other campus issue is important, but there is no other issue when there is a specific time period when women are so at risk. There is no other issue where the university can be held legally liable when this event occurs. Even with racism, the university can not be held accountable. I am not saying that other issues are not deserving of more weight, but in terms of the coverage the issue gets, we must set an overarching tone that we don’t tolerate this behavior.

FM: How did you react to this situation?