On Thursday March 6, Katie Koestner, founder and executive director of Campus Outreach Services and Take Back the Night, shared her “No-Yes” presentation with a crowded Guerry Auditorium. Koestner’s talk was organized by Her Campus Sewanee and sponsored by the Cornerstone Initiative and the University Lectures Committee.
As the first survivor of date rape to speak outpublicly at the age of 18, Koestner appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine in 1991, and has since led a powerful movement to end sexual violence. As a national expert on student safety and wellness issues with her own personal experience to share, Koestner gave a speech that was emotionally gripping and transformative.
Her program provided students and members of the greater Sewanee community with a blend of facts, statistics, realism, and thought-provoking challenges around relationships, respect, substance use, and decision-making. She interweaved her own sexual assault experience with vignettes from students across the country, and shared the story of her brave and convicting movement to change the national conversation on date rape.
With her powerful speeches and national programs, Koestner urges college students to lead the fight against sexual violence. When asked how students can change their behavior or become more conscious of the decisions they make during an interview with the Harvard Crimson, Koestner said, “We must interrupt the silence during sex. We need to talk during sex. If you’re going to have a one night stand, that’s high risk behavior. You’re going to have to talk.” Since her first public appearance, Katie Koestner has empowered both men and women to take a stand and “take back the night” by providing more communicative, respectful, and aware college campuses.
In addition to having presented to millions of students, Koestner has given hundreds of keynote addresses, and has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC Nightly News, MTV, CNBC Talk Live, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, CNN, and many other news programs.