Joining Chris Cox, Executive Director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke on the stage at CPAC was Kimberly Corban. Refusing to be labeled a victim of sexual assault, Corban turned her experience into advocacy; fighting her attacker in court and for more than a decade, Corban working on behalf of sexual assault survivors.
In her first op-ed written exclusively for Bearing Arms, Kimberly shares insight into what compelled her to step onto the national stage, what she sees happening and where we need to go from here:
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.
n 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 ignoredwhen 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.
The town hall style Q&A was well attended on the last day of CPAC and earned high praise from media in attendance.