On Tuesday April 9, noted speaker Katie Koestner presented a dramatic, emotional, and informative program on self confidence, safety, and sexual assault. Using her own experience as a young college student in 1990, Koestner asked the students to think about decisions they may face in relationships, and challenged them to be ready with strategies — and self confidence. She urged the students to bring the confidence they show in the classroom, on the field, or on the stage, to their relationships, and to demand respect for their choices.
Koestner’s organization, Respect My Red, “imparts knowledge about consent and laws pertaining to relationships. It foments an attitude of the importance of respect and the inspiration to behave in a way to demonstrate this attitude. Respect My Red empowers us to engage our peers as proactive bystanders.”
The event was organized by Villa Maria’s Student Advisory Board and Dean of Students Brittany Thompson, who heard Koestner speak and felt that her message would be valuable to the student body. “Comprehensive preparation for life beyond high school enables young people to embark on this next phase of freedom with less trepidation,” said Thompson. “Villa Maria Academy believes in bringing those who have experienced teachable moments to share these with our students in a constructive, purposeful way. Respect My Red’s educational program promotes discussion and education, in a developmentally appropriate way, on what it means to show and get respect.”
Koestner was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine at age 18 after becoming the first woman to speak out as the victim of campus date rape. She has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, and over 100 other national media outlets. She is the subject of movies by HBO and Lifetime. She is the architect of federal student safety legislation and the author of numerous published works.