Sexual violence expert shares story at SBC

Rape survivor and activist Katie Koestner will speak at Sweet Briar College at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, in Josey Dining Room at Prothro. “Katie’s Journey and How We Can Work to End Sexual Violence” is free and open to the public.

Katie Koestner
Katie Koestner speaks at an event

In her talk, Koestner will share the story of her first year of college, when she went out to a restaurant with another student and became the victim of date rape. Unlike so many before her, Koestner spoke out about it. She appeared on the cover of TIME at age 18, and her life story became the subject of an HBO movie. Koestner also testified on Capitol Hill and helped pass the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights.

In addition to sharing her own experience, Koestner will talk with students and others in the audience about how they can “help those who have been through sexual assault, sexual abuse, stalking and intimate partner violence,” according to the program description, which continues: “Get BOLD and learn how to become an ‘upstander’ in your community and among your peers. Learn the signs and symptoms that someone needs help and how to help that person.”

Koestner has become a national expert on student safety and teen relationship culture. She was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC Talk Live, CNN, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Later Today, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight and other national television programs. She has lectured at more than 3,000 schools in North America, and her audiences have included the incoming classes at MIT, West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy and others, as well as the top-200 officers of the Department of Defense, and the American Association of School Administrators.

In 2010, the U.S. ambassador to India invited Koestner to serve as keynote speaker and lead a 19-day campaign in India to raise awareness about Violence Against Women. In 2011, her foundation, Take Back The Night, was chosen by the TV show “The Good Wife” as the charity for its Celebrity Golf Tournament. Most recently, the Girl Scouts of the USA selected Koestner and Katie Couric, among others, as honored women to present for its 125th Anniversary Celebration.

Koestner has assisted the U.S. Department of Education in developing and providing programs to women in high-risk communities. Her testimony on Capitol Hill was instrumental in the passage of federal student safety legislation. In 2007, Coe College awarded her an honorary doctorate for her extensive work on student safety and public service. In 2015, the U.S. Department of State chose Koestner to work at the United Nations with Chinese delegates to learn how to combat sexual violence in China.

For more information, please contact Deborah Mays at (434) 381-6140 or dmays@sbc.edu.