Rape, suicide prevention talk will be Sunday at BGSU union PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 11:33
Andrea Cooper found the courage to share a message of hope after her personal tragedy nearly two decades ago: her college-age daughter, Kristin, took her life after being raped by a friend.
Soon after, Cooper was invited by her daughter's sorority to launch a nationwide speaking tour to empower college students and to educate about rape and suicide prevention, and has since shared Kristin's Story at more than 300 campuses and conferences worldwide.
Cooper will speak at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union at Bowling Green State University. This will be her fourth visit to campus in the 15 years since she has been touring. The event is free and open to the public.
Her visit is sponsored by a grant from the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, and hosted by the BGSU chapter. Advocates trained to work with victims of sexual assault will be available to meet privately with students during or after the event. Cooper shares her cell phone number with the audience so that she is not restricted by the event schedule from answering all questions and encourages even the shyest to speak up.
"The turnout I've gotten at Bowling Green is more than just the Greek community, its regular students, too," Cooper said. "I learn so much from the college students. That's why I love working with them. They have such great ideas."
Kristin had been visiting her hometown of Denver on break from her studies in elementary education when she was raped by a male friend in 1995. After she confided in her college boyfriend about what happened, he broke up with her. Few others knew about the rape. It wasn't until after she had committed suicide at her parents' home that they learned the truth by reading her journal. An Alpha Chi Omega sorority sister had urged Kristin to seek help, but she refused.
"Students may think it is really weird but I just tell it matter-of-factly, because I've healed tremendously from the telling," Cooper said.

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