Good evening Mister Chair and Members of the Committee:
In the early morning hours of May 12th, 2006, a stranger broke in to my college area apartment, held me in my room for two hours, and sexually assaulted me. I had to lay in my bed at 20 years old, completely defenseless, thinking this was how I was going to die. I managed to survive my attack but the damage had already been done. While the police captured my rapist and he was successfully prosecuted the following year by the Weld County District Attorney’s Office, the battle against depression, PTSD, and seizures related to the rape had only begun.
I returned to school only to be left feeling fearful and exposed. Years later, as a graduate student, I chose to exercise my second amendment right by training and lawfully obtaining a permit to carry concealed, including on my college campus at the University of Northern Colorado. Through the help of extensive counseling and the security of my chosen self-defense method, I was able to complete my coursework and earn a degree I may not have otherwise obtained.
Title 9 states no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. As we are well aware, young college women are at the greatest risk of being sexually assaulted, and campus crimes are an increasing problem across the country.
Civil rights activists and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) state that “when students suffer sexual assault and harassment, they are deprived of equal and free access to an education.” Further, according to an April 2011 letter issued by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, “The sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students’ right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime.”
To put a very fine point on this easily accessible Google-definition, sexual assault, or even the threat of a sexually-based crime denies victims from receiving the same educational experience as their non-victimized peers. With a one in four sexual victimization ratio for women, this places us at a huge disadvantage. Typically, our attackers are of a larger stature or at the very least carry out their assaults under the threat of serious bodily injury or death. If a campus carry ban is passed, your daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends are rendered defenseless on our campuses before we are even violated. A firearm levels the playing field.
Who are we to deny college students, faculty, and staff who wish to educate themselves, train, and lawfully carry a concealed firearm on campus from doing so? Clearly, we are willing to do what is necessary to protect ourselves and our peers from harm. Rapists, like the one in my case, do not need a weapon to commit their crimes, and those who do use a firearm we know completely ignore the imaginary lines called “gun-free zones”. Do not confuse a false sense of safety due to a ban on concealed carry with actual safety.
I beg you, please do not legislate your young college students into being victims.
As Maryland’s leaders begin their consideration of HB 1002, House Minority Leader Nic Kipke found an original way to appeal to his fellow representatives on the issue.
Let them hear from someone who suffered as the direct result of the effects this bill would have on women.
The bill, which would ban firearms on college campuses even if a person has a carry permit, would fail to provide Title IX rights to women by denying them the right to carry a gun in an effort to make them equal against a (larger) make attacker.
The following letter, penned by assault survivor Kimberly Corban, was addressed to the members of the Maryland General Assembly last night: