The Tragedy Of Date Rape Essay

967 words - 4 pages

Exemplary Essay - The Tragedy of Date Rape

In the fall of 1995, Kristin Cooper was a sophomore at Baker University in Kansas. She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega, an expert skier from the mountains of Colorado, a swimmer, and was active in band, choir and drama.

On the night of New Year's Eve of that same year, her mother Andrea Cooper came home to find Kristina dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on the family room floor.

Cooper shared the story of her daughter's last months through an essay titled "Kristin's Story". The essay includes poetry, letters and descriptions from the personal journal found next to Kristin's body on the night of her death. It was not until Cooper read the journal for the first time that she realized her daughter had been date raped prior to her suicide.

Since then, Cooper has traveled around the country to speak to campuses and conferences about the aftermath of rape and to try to convince victims to come forward. She visited 45 colleges, four conferences and more than 24,000 people in 2004 alone. Twenty of those visits, including this one to Clemson, were made possible with grants through Alpha Chi Omega and Cooper's own sorority, Delta Delta Delta.

Members of the two sororities were present at the discussion to distribute fliers, cozies decorated with emergency phone numbers and ribbons to promote awareness of sexual assault and violence against women.

"It's healing for me," Cooper said. "It keeps Kristin's memory alive, and maybe by talking about it, I can help someone."

According to the Rape Crisis Council of Pickens County, one out of every four females will be sexually assaulted in their college years. However, rape counts for only seven percent of the college crimes reported nationally, falling far behind less-stigmatic crimes like robbery or burglary. The crimes simply go unreported.

Cooper explained that the problem is that girls are afraid to go public about their sexual attack. Some do not want their parents to find out, some do not want to be forced to go to court and many more are convinced that it is their own fault.

Women's Studies professor Dr. Elisa Sparks explains why this is so dangerous.

"The conservative definition of rape is that it is done by a stranger or with a weapon, so a lot of women don't define date rape as actual rape," Sparks explained. Therefore, she said, victims fail to report it to the police, press charges or seek psychological help.

Cooper strongly urged any student who has been raped or who is close to a victim to contact the Clemson police, who will refer them to Redfern Health Center for medical attention or psychological counseling. Counseling at Redfern is free, and parents will not be notified if the victim is older than 17. No charges will be pressed if the victim is found to have been under the...

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