Kimberly Corban, a rape survivor and NRA Advocate, drew rave reviews, criticism, and even threats for challenging President Obama in his town hall on gun control Thursday. During the event, she asked Obama why the administration “can’t see” that new gun control actions would make herself and her kids “less safe,” as seen in the video above.
Now 29 and a mother of two, Corban was 20 and a student at the time of her attack. She has since devoted her time to helping other rape survivors and supporting gun rights.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Became a Gun Rights Advocate After a Man Broke Into Her Apartment & Raped Her in 2006
Corban told Denver’s NBC affiliate that on May 12, 2006, she “woke up and couldn’t breathe,” and when she tried to get up, she felt someone holding her down. Ronnie Pieros used an open window to sneak into her apartment. While she didn’t see his face, he later was arrested for trespassing at another apartment complex, at which point Corban recognized his voice.
Though victims are usually anonymous, Corban agreed to have her name published during his court proceedings to encourage other victims to come forward. Pieros is serving 12 years for second-degree burglary and will serve 12 years to life for the assault afterwards.
2. She Often Talks About Having a Gun to Protect Her 2 Young Children
‘That’s where I understand this violence happens,’ she said, mentioning that her daughter will be a year old soon. ‘It’s not just on the news. It’s not just in far-off places. My nightmares are real. They are my memories. I don’t want that for my own kid.’
In addition to her gun rights work, she serves as a law enforcement liaison in a community relations role with the Weld County (Colorado) District Attorney’s Office and in the past as a victim’s advocate with the Greeley, Colorado Police Department.
3. She Wasn’t the Only Gun Rights Advocate at the Town Hall
Taya Kyle, widow of American Sniper author and Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, was first to question Obama. As the widow of a famous gun violence victim, Kyle nonetheless noted the fact that murder is at a historic low. Watch Kyle challenge the president here:
4. She’s Tangled with Gun Control Advocates Before
Corban shot the ad seen above for the NRA in response to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control campaign. In response, former New York Times op-ed editor David Firestone called the ad “an expert use of fear:”
The former mayor is not trying to take away anyone’s legal handgun, and neither is any Democrat. But those details don’t matter. All that counts is making people very afraid, and then exploiting that fear.
Corban shot back that her real-life story was “not a gimmick or a strategy:”
I could easily be your daughter, your sister, your wife, or your mother. This makes many people uneasy; to have to imagine their loved ones in my shoes. I’m not asking you to go out and buy a gun if that’s not your choice; I know it wasn’t always mine. All I ask is that you not infringe upon my rights to do so.
5. She Called Obama’s Answers a ‘Non-Response’
In the video above, Corban discusses her dissatisfaction with the president’s response challenging her belief that what he proposed would not make her less capable of buying a gun. She also called the president out for “demonizing” the NRA, when she characterized many members of the NRA as regular citizens, including victims like her.
Her statement to the president had a mixed response on Twitter, with some users pointing out that she already owned guns and would not be affected:
However, she retweeted a user pointing out that Obama’s mental health actions may have consequences for her:
Several users also applauded the courage it took to tell her story: