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There’s no easy way to cope with sexual assault. It’s a terrible crime that, if one even survives, can leave even the strongest person shaken. Kimberly Corban, a rape survivor and political activist, used her horrifying experience to make her stronger. She travels around the US, sharing her message at events, campuses, and even with former President Barack Obama. So why was attendance so low at her UIUC speech last Wednesday, March 8th? Debbie Bernal, campus president of the sponsoring organization Turning Point USA says it’s due to the controversial nature of her message.
“She’s a sexual assault survivor, she’s also a pro-gun advocate, and the reason why it’s important for her to be here is because, you know, there are a lot of ways to cope with sexual assault, and her way was to conceal carry,” says Bernal.
Corban was sexually assaulted in 2006, brought her assailant to justice the following year, and has been fighting to protect others ever since. She has worked with the NRA to protect her rights to carry a firearm, meeting with various government officials and sharing her story. Bernal supports Corban’s full force method, and expresses disappointment in the way universities handle rape education.
“I know the school now has us do classes about sexual assault and stuff, but I personally don’t think they’re effective, I think self-defense would be a very good turn,” says Bernal.
Ultimately, only a small portion of Corban’s speech involved anything about Second Amendment rights. The majority of her words were about her assault and the time leading up to the trial.
“She goes into great detail of the whole process and just how she felt at every point, and I think just having that perspective of the experience all throughout is important,” says Turning Point USA Vice President Neil Lamaye.
Although attendance was low, Turning Point USA still feel the speech made a strong impact. Beneath all the political layers was a message that was hard to listen to, but important to hear.
“What we got was basically what we needed on campus and that was a talk about sexual assault,” says member Nicholas Pugesek.
For more information and to read her story, you can check out Kimberly’s website here.
This assignment took several turns for me. Initially, I was going to cover a speech by Jay Rosen about Trump’s media attacks. That idea fell through, as did a couple others I came up with. I was beginning to lose hope, but then I saw Turning Point USA’s event on Facebook, and I decided to capitalize. I reached out to the campus president of the organization to get consent to film the speech and interview a few of the organization’s members. Then, I hit another snag. I wasn’t sure whether to focus on the speaker or the hosting organization. I decided to base it on whether or not I was able to speak with Corban.
Upon arriving to the speech, I did my interviews and introduced myself to Corban. I personally made sure she was aware and okay with me filming the speech, and I asked her if she had any time before she left town for a short interview. She tentatively agreed and gave me her email. Unfortunately, she had something come up and was unable to speak with me.
Thus, I found myself in a complicated place. I still wanted to base my piece around Corban. In the end, I opted to frame the story around her, using snippets of her speech in my package and including the organizations comments about her in both the package and the news story.
Ultimately, I’m proud of the script I came up with. I’m still not completely satisfied with my video editing ability, but I do feel as if I’m getting better. Moving forward, I plan to allot myself more time to really navigate the editing software in the hopes of improving my navigation and productivity with Adobe Premiere.