Interview with Kimberly Corban, rape survivor pushing for gun rights

‘Girls should absolutely have the choice to bear arms to protect themselves’

One summer night after her sophomore year at the University of Northern Colorado, Kimberly Corban was sexually assaulted in her apartment by a stranger. Since then, Corban has been an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual assault. During the 2016 presidential election cycle, Corban recounted her story in a NRA commercial critical of Hillary Clinton’s stance regarding the second amendment. After making an appearance at CPAC with four other women who spoke for gun rights, including the right to carry on college campuses, Corban sat down with The Tab to discuss her life, views, and advocacy.

Tell us about your upbringing in terms of your family’s attitude towards guns and how you felt about them in your childhood?

Guns were used for hunting, there weren’t a lot of them around, and definitely not handguns. The handgun aspect actually wasn’t introduced to me until I was 22 and certainly never before my assault. And since then I decided that’d be the method through which I’d protect myself with.

I see. So before the incident, would you say you were rather indifferent towards guns?

Yes, I was indifferent. I didn’t grow up in a political family by any means.

I don’t like to have you go back to unpleasant memories and I’ve read that the incident has left you with depression and PTSD, but can you describe a bit about that night?

Sure. A strange broke into my apartment late at night, and when I woke up, I felt like I couldn’t breathe as there was a dark shirt he covered me with. I had to at 22 years old think that’s how I was going to die. It was a very traumatic, life-changing experience that no one should have to live through. We when went to trial, I kept thinking why did this have to happen to me, and so I decided to release my name to the media. I thought if I could just help one person, that would be great.

Speaking of the media, you were at a town hall with Obama last year and you criticized his attitude towards gun policies in an interview with the Washington Post. You said in your remarks here at CPAC that you had voted for him in the 2008 elections. Would you say that gun policy is the one issue that changed your mind about voting for Democrats?

It was two years after the summer of my assault during the 08 elections, and my TV and radio were all inundated with marketing campaigns in cases of rape or sexual assault and Obama dominated that victim core. So I had a very narrow view of what could or could not help me and I fell for it. I went without thinking that this is the man who would help me and get the job done and I didn’t realize that we have to be responsible for ourselves. It was a changing of mind when I voted for them and then, my voice did not matter anymore.

So did you vote for Trump in this past election?

I actually did not endorse any candidate on purpose. Because I did not want to dilute, especially in such a turbulent election cycle, my message of sexual assault advocacy. That always comes first. And I wanted to protect the second amendment.

Of course. Which puts you at a very interesting position because there were many serious allegations against Trump. Can you talk more about your position?

So I wrote a column in the Townhall about it.

“It was the final tipping point for me. Faced with that kind of evidence, my failing to speak up would just condone this type of magniloquence, and that is not advocating for victims—my personal mission since day one.”

When it comes to sexual assault, my point is that it does not matter here that we have a presidential candidate, or if we had a neighbor, a family member, or a sport star at a state university who went to the NFL. We can’t get hang up on the persona and we need to look at what sexual assault does to people. The harm doesn’t discriminate based on who you are.

Did you any get backlash for the advocacy work you do?

Oh gosh yes, I get plenty. People don’t like that they can’t stick me in a box and know what’s going to come out of my mouth.

So how do you reconcile the argument that guns could actually lead to increased instances of sexual assault?

More often than not, the knowledge and presence of a firearm is likely to empower a woman in those adverse situations. I’m not advocating for the second amendment because I want everyone to have guns. No one is, and not everyone should have guns. What I’m advocating for is a choice and women should absolutely have the choice to bear arms to protect themselves.

I know you have two young children, do you teach them how to operate the handgun?

No, they are far too young. Guns are not toys and toys are not guns. Removing the curiosity is going to be a huge challenge.

If there’s one message you want to send to women who have been sexually assaulted before, what would it be?

You are not alone. There are so many resources. As alone as you may feel at the moment, there are so many who are here to support you.

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Princeton University