Alpha Chi presents ‘Kristin’s Story’

Holly Pullano

Andrea Fuller Cooper is a mother who has been directly affected by her daughter Kristin’s rape, depression and suicide. In response to these events, Cooper travels to colleges throughout the country to share her daughter’s story and promote awareness of these issues.
Cooper spoke to students in Alumni Hall on Nov. 12 about the tragic events that led to her daughter’s death. Cooper’s purpose in sharing her story is to educate about the warning signs of depression and suicide, in hopes of preventing what happened to her daughter from happening to others.
Kristin was a well-liked college student and member of her school’s chapter of Alpha Chi Omega in Colorado. She suffered from depression after she was raped by an acquaintance, and committed suicide a short time later. At the time of her suicide, her family was unaware why she would have wanted to end her life. After her parents read her journal, they realized that Kristin had been raped by a close male friend, and were shocked that they had not noticed the warning signs of depression and suicide that their daughter had displayed.
“Most people are not aware of how prevalent suicide is. However, suicide is the second highest killer of college students, with car accidents being number one,” Cooper said during her speech.
To prove this point, Cooper took an informal poll of the audience asking how many people had been affected by suicide. She was not surprised when almost the entire crowd raised their hands.
Cooper has researched date rape and depression and hopes to educate her audiences about how serious suicide is. She demonstrated how common it is by presenting statistics during the slide presentation of her speech.
One statistic is that a woman is raped every two minutes in the United States. Another is that 65 percent of rape victims contemplate suicide. Cooper said that 85 percent of the time the woman is raped by someone she knows.
“Most of the time the rapist is the boy next door,” Cooper said.
There are many signs students must be aware of to prevent suicide from happening to someone they love. The presentation stressed the importance of recognizing signals a depressed person commonly displays. Cooper stated that according to friends, her daughter exhibited most of the telltale signs of depression – she began to do poorly in school, didn’t find happiness in things she once enjoyed, slept often, gained weight, and was always tired and withdrawn.
Cooper discussed what actions should be taken if someone was raped or is believed to be suicidal. Providing support for the person is most critical.
Monique Drucker, trained sexual assault counselor and Quinnipiac’s Rape Crisis Counselor, has information and phone numbers for students in emergency situations.
Drucker informed the audience of the procedure for a victim of rape at Quinnipiac. A student in trouble should contact his or her RA, who will then contact Drucker, who is on-call at all times. She then accompanies the student to the hospital for proper treatment and testing.
A booklet entitled, “A Resource for College Students: What To Do If You Are Raped,” was also distributed to the audience at the end of the presentation. The handbook provided an overview of rape and is a resource Cooper uses to save lives through awareness.
Cooper was pleased that there was a male presence in the audience and said, “My presentation is not only important for women, but is also helpful to men, because women will often confide in their male friends about a traumatic event such as rape.”
Cooper feels the warning signs for a suicidal or depressed person must be taken seriously, especially claims that they want to kill themselves or hinting at death.
“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” said Cooper, “and if my speech tonight can change that for one person than I have been successful.”
Cooper’s presentation was made possible by a grant from both Alpha Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta. Both of these organizations enable the funding of Andrea Fuller Cooper to present her story to college communities nationwide.
For further information students may contact Monique Drucker at x8723, or call the national rape crisis hotline at 800-656-HOPE.