Bearing Arms was kind enough to publish an article dedicated to the 10th anniversary of my sexual assault in which I reflected on just how far I've come in the past decade. Read the original article HERE
Kimberly Corban: The Instinct of a Survivor
"At a college-area apartment in Greeley, CO in the early morning hours of May 12th, 2006, stood a man determined to conquer his prey. Though he had visited the exterior of the building many times over the past week, hunting the girls inside under the cover of darkness, this was the night he studied the ground-level window and made the decision to force it open just wide enough to slither inside. As he silently crept through the living room, finding his way to the end of a narrow hall, he slowly opened the door facing him. There, fast asleep in her bed, lay 20-year-old Kimberly Corban, oblivious to the threat looming over her. Just as this stranger had fantasized for so long, he knelt over his victim’s body, carefully placing a dark shirt over her face. Startled from her sleep, Kimberly tried to sit up, but he pushed her back into her pillow, whispering coldly into her ear, “Shut up”. He could feel the fear washing over her as she struggled to draw short, jagged breaths. He knew his time had finally come. He held all the power. He was in control.
At 6:56AM on May 12th , 2006, I made my first desperate, crackling phone call to dispatch screaming for help, asking officers to please hurry—to save me.
The prior two hours had been the longest and most terrifying of my young life. At only twenty years of age, I was forced to look at the pure evil ignited in the eyes of a stranger and try to accept the fact that my life was in his hands.
This man, a man I had never met, had broken in to my home, covered my face, and proceeded to rape me. No amount of pleading or protest could have stopped him. I was overpowered and vulnerable in the one place I was supposed to feel safe — in my own home.
As I watched the sun rise outside of my bedroom window through a 3-inch opening in my blinds, I could see the backside of the garages, the green spring grass, even the sidewalk. They were right outside my window, just beyond my bedroom wall, yet seemed worlds away from the horror I was trapped in. I prayed for someone—anyone to appear outside my window and miraculously save me from this nightmare.
Quick thinking and the ability to convince my attacker his crime would stay within the four walls of my apartment is what ultimately tempted evil to leave my home.
But my ordeal was far from over.
I called police, submitted to a sexual assault examination at the hospital and was handed a blue brochure with a list of things I may experience. I stared at it blankly, not able to identify with any of their warnings. My mind was screaming, “This is not me!” Anger seared my chest as I tossed it aside, furious and feeling defeated at the realization that suddenly, my identity had been relabeled: I was now a victim.
I burst into tears in the police department bathroom and slid down the wall, crumpled into an empty shell of myself. As my mother tried to comfort me, I whispered through my tears, “Mommy, I don’t
want to be this girl!”
In the months that followed, the things I needed to say came out as crying, panic attacks, binge drinking, seizures, sleeping, PTSD and depression. The road was rough, filled with pitfalls and detours, but I knew where it was heading and I knew I had to get there.
Just over a year later, that road finally lead me to my day in court. I stood in front of the judge, the jury, my attacker, the prosecutors, and a packed courtroom of supporters to recount the most horrific experience of my life in painstaking detail. Three hours later, I took a seat in the front row where I stayed anchored the rest of the week, intent on barring this evil from preying on any other women.
At that moment, the realization was so clear to me: becoming a victim may not a choice, but becoming a survivor is.
I was blessed with an incredible support system on my journey to heal. I would not be who I am or where I am today without them. From the Greeley Police Department to the NCMC emergency room staff, to the Weld County District Attorney’s office to Alpha Phi, from the University of Northern Colorado to my amazing friends and family.
This victory has not been without struggle. So many times, I failed in so many ways, but every stumble only made me work harder.
Although I was forever changed, I did survive that morning. I immediately reported the crime, identified my attacker upon his arrest, actively participated in the court process, and testified at trial one year later.
Now, ten years later, I stand outside that very same apartment bedroom window I stared out of that morning. In my mind’s eye, from my bed 10 years ago, I can look out see and myself today – standing tall on the sidewalk where I prayed a savior would appear. I’ve come full circle, realizing that over the past decade, I became my savior. I saved myself.
Today, I am the person I so desperately needed in 2006. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a partner. I am a friend. I am a fighter. I am a survivor. Beyond myself, I am also a voice for others who have been victimized and stand as a powerful force against those who wish to take away our power as individuals.
Please, I beg you: if you take nothing else away from my experience, I want you to remember my story.
Not of what happened to me that morning ten years ago, but what that morning made me.
Brave. Determined. Strong. Courageous. A survivor.
Oh Cosmo, please be better at life in general.
See the original article on Bearing Arms HERE.
"Yes, I quoted Sir Mix-a-lot, but have you seen it yet? The painfully awkward three-minute video “Real Conversation on Guns
” that Cosmopolitan.com posted? If not, let me save you cringe-worthy experience by telling you exactly what you’re missing.
First of all, it’s no secret that I myself am a sex assault survivor. A stranger broke in to my apartment just after my sophomore year of college, held me in my bedroom for two hours, and raped me. Ironically, it was an article in Cosmo that resonated in my 20 year-old mind during the early morning hours of my assault.
I had read a story of a woman who used the tact of befriending her rapist/kidnapper and convinced him that she was not going to tell anyone. She escaped and reported the incident. I employed the same tact which eventually worked, but not before being assaulted and raped. He left me alone in my bedroom and walked to my kitchen to get a drink of water before exiting my home through the front door.
I had no way of defending myself that morning, but after staring in the eyes of pure evil I knew that I would not be left defenseless again. I chose to learn about concealed carry and train to the point where I was comfortable using a firearm for my protection. It was a constitutional right I chose to exercise quietly until I learned my rights were being threatened by politicians.
Since my interaction
this January with President Obama on CNN’s Town hall debate, “Guns in America”, I have been confronted with many questions and accusations that frankly are the reason many survivors never speak out on this topic.
“Well you survived without a gun! What’s the big deal? You can use different methods to get away that don’t use a gun that would likely be turned around on you anyway.”
The biggest problem here is that these comments START with victim-blaming. It’s apparently on me to think of ways to get away, scare off my attacker, or stop being raped without turning to the one greatest equalizer we as women have—a firearm.
Furthermore, what no one cares to hear is that while I may have been my attacker’s first victim (that we could identify), at the time of his arrest just three weeks later, he was picked up at an apartment complex not a half mile from mine taking pictures of college women sunbathing. He was choosing his next victim.
So yes, I survived, but at what point does this or any other offender’s growing number of victims and escalating behaviors stop?
Now enter this insanely biased Cosmo video—where were the women like me? All I saw were young twenty-somethings who had an unhealthy fear of firearms because the media has told them that they should. I’d understand if one of the couples Cosmopolitan had presented had a back-and-forth discussion about it, but no; they chose to set up four interviews. Each repeating the same rhetoric. Men that are vaguely familiar with the left’s talking points on gun ownership and women who are in no way open to hearing their partner’s thoughts or reasons for exercising their second amendment rights.
Also by design, Cosmo only cast the men as gun owners. They are easier to vilify because statistically speaking, men are perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault more often than women. It is not difficult to make the leap from a distrust of men to an inherent distrust of guns and that is exactly what Everytown, Shannon Watts, and their newfound besties at Cosmo want you to do. God forbid some of us women who take quizzes to see which ‘Scandal’ character we are and do morning yoga and brunch afterwards own firearms. How are we somehow “less than” because we’ve educated ourselves and choose to take self-protection seriously?
As someone who has just recently waded back in to the dating world, I can tell you that these forced and prompted conversations depicted in the Cosmo video are absolutely NOT indicative of what real and thoughtful discussions surrounding gun ownership include. I’m not asking if a potential date has guns—I don’t care. What I care about is what that person is capable of doing with or without firearms.
If your potential partner is exercising their First Amendment right, are you going to say, “oh no, I don’t like what you’re doing and what you’re saying even though it’s completely legal”? Here’s a pro tip: if you don’t like what your girlfriend or boyfriend is doing or what they believe in, DON’T DATE THEM. Simple, right? By all means, please leave those guys or gals for those of us who will appreciate their respect for individual rights and personal protection.
My hope is that my fellow females are not taking their personal protection advice from a magazine like Cosmopolitan. Instead, continue to educate yourselves and have real conversations that are relevant to your own life experience and independent thinking. And please, don’t fear dating a man just because he exercises his Second Amendment rights.
Fear dating a man who thinks yours should be taken away."
Following my first time at CPAC in Maryland this year, I penned an op-ed for Bearing Arms. The full article can be found HERE
Kimberly Corban: Standing Tall for Gun Rights
They say hindsight is 20/20 and looking back, I’d say that’s true. You may remember 2008 as an election year, but I remember it as the year in which I realized I needed to care about my rights and vote for those who would work to protect them. Mind you, I was a 22 year old student attending a Colorado state college and so my view of what was a right and what was a privilege was seriously skewed.
I was also a recent victim of rape which changed my life irrevocably.
I didn’t grow up in a political family, but instead with parents that would present both sides of an issue to my brother and I to let us choose what we believed for ourselves. In fact, I remember asking my mother how she and my father voted. Her response was, “We inform ourselves. And we don’t vote on something or someone if we are uniformed.”
So there I was, a young adult consumed by a burning passion to educate my peers and fellow community members on sexual assault – with no party affiliation. I was ripe for the picking.
And that is exactly what happened.
I know this rhetoric is old and has grown tired with voters, but I need to tell you what drove my decision in that election. The thought that a McCain/Palin win would lead to banning birth control and abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, truly frightened me. I could not imagine what would have happened if I were in that position, and the scare tactic worked.
In November of 2008, I cast my “informed” vote for Barack Obama.
In 2013, my beloved home state of Colorado wearily became the gun control litmus test for the rest of the country. Our state legislators, under pressure from big money Bloomberg groups and Obama’s administration itself, placed their constituents at great risk for victimization. Magazine bans, overreaching background checks, bans on concealed carry on college campuses – measures billed under the name of safety.
But to a rape victim who had fought my way through PTSD, depression, seizures related directly to PTSD as a direct result of rape, pregnant mother and grad school student who had changed my life’s work to educate the public on sexual assault, I knew these measures would not make me or anyone else safe. They were disarming people where they need it most and moving towards disarming people like me completely. Instead of empowering me, they were punishing me, telling me I must remain defenseless for seeking mental health treatment due to a heinous crime which took place in part because I didn’t have the means to defend myself in the first place. When did my right to protect myself and my kids suddenly make me open for scrutiny?
Fast forward to the January 2016 CNN Town Hall broadcast live on CNN. I stood on that stage to confront the very president I helped to elect. He promised he was going to protect me. He said he would protect other victims. He vowed to protect women, and children, and special interest groups, and so on and so forth. What I saw he and his fellow gun-grabbers doing wasn’t protection and I realized my true constitutional and inalienable rights were being chipped away in front of my eyes.
So I used my first amendment right to protect my second amendment right and I wasn’t alone. Concerned citizens turned out in droves. This typically quiet community (despite what the media may have you think) knew it was time to speak up. There weren’t riots, or shootings, or crimes being committed in the name of a popular hashtag. Instead, constituents were taking their elected officials to task, saying “Stand up for us so we don’t lose the right to stand up for ourselves, dammit!”
What followed wasn’t an open discussion, but rather a stage set for the sole purpose of pushing the president’s empty and ignorant rhetoric we’re all so tired of.
That’s why I was thrilled to be asked to speak at CPAC for the National Rifle Association’s panel, “Thank Goodness for Guns in America”. Unlike the CNN town hall, the questions from the audience were raw; un-screened, spur-of-the-moment and truly called attention to the fact that our gun rights are something we must continue to fight for every day. We cannot become apathetic toward the United States Constitution. Furthermore, our service men and women do not risk their lives and sacrifice time with their families so that we can feel good about tweeting a hashtag and thinking that’s enough to do our part. Speaking out on social media is not enough, we have to do more.
I demand that my right to choose how best to defend myself and my family be honored and protected. It’s time the lefts stops owning victims. It is an insult
to be pandered to during an election only to be ignored when I speak up and don’t fit their narrative. We need to tell our elected officials, in office and running for office, that we will not allow anyone to take a swipe at our Second Amendment rights. As Obama said, “it’s right there on the paper” for everyone to see: “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.
I’m not asking everyone to own a gun, but I am telling you that those of us who choose to educate, train, and lawfully carry will not sit down quietly while you take a political eraser to the document that our founding fathers penned with this very tyranny in mind.
Politicians need to stop telling citizens they can protect them when we are able to protect ourselves with our God-given right of self defense which is protected under the US Constitution they’ve sworn to uphold. And I feel it is my duty, as it is all of our duty, to continue to inform others of our side on this issue so they can make a better decision when tasked with electing our leaders.
Following my first time testifying in front of the Colorado state legislature on our second amendment rights, I penned an impassioned op-ed in an effort to reach those who were unable to be present in the capitol building for the 2013 gun debates. The piece went viral after Revealing Politics posted on their site just prior to the senate holding a floor vote on the expansive gun control package that served as a litmus test for the rest of the nation. Read the original article HERE
**Warning Graphic** Guest OpEd: “Don’t disarm me with your vote”
By Kelly Maher By Kimberly Corban (Weeks)
Gun control. It’s pretty broad topic and no matter who you are, you’ve probably heard a lot about it lately, especially if you live in Colorado, the epicenter of the national gun control debate.
Fear of firearms keeps most of my college-aged peers from owning or carrying a gun. Going into my junior year at the University of Northern Colorado, I was one of them. I had grown up around my dad and brother’s shotguns and hunting rifles, but I didn’t believe I needed a weapon to defend myself. The very idea of carrying a handgun made me uncomfortable. Nothing would ever happen to me in Greeley, Colorado.
Then, everything changed in the early hours of a mid-May morning. I was sleeping in my college-area apartment when a stranger broke in through a closed window. He snuck into my bedroom. I awoke to a man covering my face with a shirt and didn’t stop for the next two hours as he raped me. I had no choice. I didn’t scream, I didn’t cry, I just prepared for this man to kill me.
During the unbearable hours of my attack, I was painfully aware of what was happening. I wish I could have shut down – but I didn’t. I started doing whatever I could do to survive. I was fighting for my life.
During the assault, I lied and told my attacker I had herpes, which did not nothing to deter him. I told him I was claustrophobic, hoping he would move the shirt just enough so I could identify him later – if I survived. I asked to use the restroom saying I might wet myself, but he repeatedly denied my requests.
I was doing everything I could to escape – doing everything I could to stop the horrific violence that was being forced upon me. I did everything I could – and I prayed it would be enough.
Time was running out, so despite the pain, anger, and fear that was coursing through my body, I tried one more thing: I started talking and kept him engaged in conversation for the next hour as I watched the sun rise through my bedroom window.
Others that could help were so close, yet so very far away. No one else knew what was happening to me. It was lonely and terrifying.
I convinced my rapist that I would not report his actions, that I was too embarrassed, and I even told him that I forgave him. I told him everyone makes mistakes. When he asked if he could get a drink of water from my kitchen, I directed him to the wrong cabinet, hoping he would leave fingerprints behind. When he left to get a drink, I was alone in my bedroom. I frantically glanced around and saw my cell phone, a knife, a hammer, and other various tools sitting on my bookcase headboard from unpacking the night before. I knew I could not physically overpower him with any of those objects if he came back.
After what felt like an eternity, I saw something that I never thought I’d live to see – he walked out the front door.
I had survived.
I immediately called 9-1-1 multiple times over a 16 minute period. The dispatcher had a hard time telling officers where to respond because my call would drop repeatedly. They did everything they could to get to me quickly, but it was not quick enough. He had already raped me and was gone.
I will never know if I would have been able to stop my rape if I had owned a firearm. I can tell you that any fear I had of guns evaporated as soon as I got a second chance at living my life. Had I been armed, I very well could have changed my circumstances and possibly prevented another attack on myself or the next victim.
This man was capable of breaking into my apartment and raping me, and in the half-second I saw into his eyes, I knew he could do much worse. My case is atypical because three weeks after my assault, my rapist was caught by police at an apartment complex just half a mile from mine, picking out his next victim. Ronnie Pieros was preparing to attack again, but to what extent? Would the next woman have lived to report her crime?
I firmly believe in Colorado’s Victim’s Rights Amendment – a law that affords victims of crimes to be heard present, and informed throughout the entire criminal justice process. It helped me through the most difficult time of my life, and I truly feel like the Greeley Police Department and the Weld County District Attorney’s Office were on my side. They did everything in their power to make sure I had a voice.
In front of the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday, victims and law enforcement alike plead with the legislators not to pass HB 13-1226 – a measure that will ban concealed carry on college campuses. Monday evening, I realized how quickly, and how thoughtlessly, a small group of legislators put prior victim rights groups’ and legislators’ work at risk.
Victims of sexual assault in Colorado were silenced by the committee’s vote, but that’s not all. Now, we are now one step closer to being disarmed on our college campuses – on and near the very places we were sexually assaulted.
Every election season, we see Democratic candidates tout victims and women as a priority. But what happens after the election? Are we still significant?
It seems to me that candidates use this pandering technique solely get the votes they need. After the election, sitting comfortably in their chairs at the Capitol, the voting demographic they relied so heavily on is no longer the priority they once claimed. Some may say it’s unfair for me to make this assumption. But, earlier this week I sat directly in front of the Colorado Senate Committee telling them and a gallery of strangers, as well as media, the story of my vicious rape.
I plead with them not to strip me of my rights to carry the weapon I am licensed to carry on my college campus. The three Democratic Senators chose to ignore my plea. The very people that treated me like a priority when they needed my vote, voted against me when I needed theirs.
I ask – no, I beg – each Colorado Senator to stop ignoring the voices of citizens like me. Don’t re-victimize me with your legislation.
Please, Colorado, don’t disarm me with your vote.