Views challenged as part of Stop Rape Month


A rape victim and a lawyer addressed about 500 people at UF.

ANDRA PARRISH/ Special to The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 6:23 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 12:00 a.m.
Katie Koestner told the audience of about 500 at the University of Florida on Tuesday about her crush on a cute boy during her freshman year at college. She talked about how thrilled she was when he finally asked her on a date.
Then she talked about the night he raped her.
It started out like any normal potential romance. Koestner met the student at orientation at the College of William and Mary, and the two began studying together and hung out as friends, she told the audience.
She was thrilled when he asked her out on a date, Koestner said. The two went to a French restaurant.
After dinner, she invited him to her room to dance. He made several moves on her, and she tried to make a joke out of the situation by throwing pillows at him, Koestner said. He started tickling her, and then it turned into wrestling.
"And then I wasn't laughing anymore," Koestner said.
She told him that she wasn't going to have sex until she was married - and then he went to sleep on her bed.
Koestner huddled in a corner of her room, staying awake all night. At daybreak, he woke up and apologized. He told her to go to sleep.
"I let down my guard," Koestner said. When she closed her eyes, he raped her. "That's why I'm doing this," Koestner told the audience in a quiet, tearful voice. "I don't want any of you to go through what I did, and I don't want any of you who have been in my shoes to feel you have to be quiet."
Koestner reported the attack, and the student was eventually found guilty. But in the meantime, people at her college threw eggs at her windows and beer at her, Koestner said. Some students circulated a petition saying she was lying.
Koestner is now 30 and a resident of Philadelphia, and she speaks about date rape for a living. She spoke Tuesday at the Reitz Union as part of Stop Rape Month. There also was a candlelight march Tuesday.
And while Koestner's attack was clearly a case of sexual assault, other cases aren't as clear, said Brett Sokolow, a lawyer and specialist on sexual assault policy.
Sokolow presented a true case involving two college students and had the audience decide whether they thought the man was guilty of sexual assault for having sex with a drunken woman.
A little more than half the audience voted that the man should be found guilty of sexual assault.
The man was convicted of sexual assault and served 18 months in prison.
Sokolow told the audience, "Each of you had a different understanding of guilty versus not guilty. That may come into play when it comes down to a Saturday night."
Kathy Ciotola can be reached at 338-3109 or ciotolk@ gvillesun.com.
Some assault cases are not so clear Katie Koestner spoke to an audience of about 500 at the University of Florida as part of Stop Rape Month. There also was a candlelight march on Tuesday.

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