Kim Corban is a rape survivor who advocates on behalf of the victims of rape. On May 29, NRATV put up a clip of Corban talking about her experience of rape and talking about her determination never to be a victim again. The tweet was captioned, “I’m a mother of two, and if a predator or anyone else tries to harm me or my family, they have to come through my firearm first.” —Kim Corban #WednesdayWisdom.
The tweet got a lot of attention, in part because CNN host Chris Cuomo seemed to criticize it. Cuomo retweeted it, adding the caption, “Only in America.” Supporters of Corban immediately lashed out at Cuomo for seeming to deride Corban’s stance.
Here’s what you need to know about Kim Corban:
1. She Was Raped by a Stranger While She Was a Student at the University of Colorado
Corban grew up in Greeley, Colorado and went to college at the University of Northern Colorado. In May 2006, a stranger broke into her off-campus apartment. He held her there for two hours and raped her. Corban said that her rapist put a black shirt over her head so that she couldn’t see him. But she said that she was determined to identify him and bring him to justice. So she listened closely to his voice, and to every word he said. She also peeked out from under the shirt whenever she could to try and get clues about his appearance.
Corban said that her attacker stayed for a while talking, apparently trying to rid himself of guilt. “He would keep his voice in a whisper, talking to me, and he wouldn’t shut up,” said Corban. “He said he felt bad about this. He said it would ruin his day.”
Still, she said her attacker threatened to come back again if she told anyone what he had done.
2. The Man Who Raped Her Got a 24 Year Sentence
After Corban’s assailant left, Corban immediately reported the attack to the police. She also served as the key witness during his trial. In 2007, a jury found the 25-year-old Ronnie Pieros guilty of sexual assault. Pieros was sentenced to 24 years to life in prison for his attack on Corban.
Corban said she experienced depression and seizures after being attacked by Pieros. She said that she was determined, nevertheless, to keep going with her life. “I could have crawled inside myself and stayed home with my parents and watched TV every night and tried to forget about it all,” Corban said at the time. “Believe me, I want to forget about it, … but I also want to do something about it.”
3. She Became a Victims’ Advocate, Earning a Graduate Degree in Criminal Justice
Corban was a business major at the University of Northern Colorado when she was attacked. She was also a sorority sister and an avid athlete. After being assaulted, she switched her major to psychology and minored in speech, all because she wanted to be able to speak to others about rape. She went on to earn a graduate degree in criminal justice and worked for many years as a victim’s advocate, first with the local police department and later with the District Attorney’s Office. She has traveled across the country speaking to victims and raising awareness about rape and its impact on its victims.
Corban was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after her attack. In the lead-up to testifying in court, she experienced seizures, sometimes several times a week. She also experienced intense depression. But Corban said that she wanted to help other women who were in similar situations. “In a way, I’ve been provided an amazing opportunity to help others,” Corban said. “And I’m going to take advantage of that.”
4. She Is Married & Has Four Kids
Kim is married to Mike Rourke, the prosecutor who helped put her assailant in jail. Kim and Mike live in Colorado with their four children. Kim grew up in Greeley, Colorado, where her parents still live. Her official biography says that she loves to sing Disney songs and that her husband groans at her love of puns.
5. She Says Politicians on Both Sides of the Aisle ‘Hijacked’ Her Sexual Assault
In a Ted Talk from December 2018, Corban said that her sexual assault had been “hijacked” by politicians on both sides of the political divide. She said that both liberals and conservatives were using her story to make their own point about sexual assault and gun rights.
Corban also came to national attention in 2016, when she asked President Obama a question in a CNN Town Hall. She said,
“As a survivor of rape, and now a mother to two small children — you know, it seems like being able to purchase a firearm of my choosing, and being able to carry that wherever my — me and my family are — it seems like my basic responsibility as a parent at this point. I have been unspeakably victimized once already, and I refuse to let that happen again to myself or my kids. So why can’t your administration see that these restrictions that you’re putting to make it harder for me to own a gun, or harder for me to take that where I need to be is actually just making my kids and I less safe?”
She said afterward that she considered Obama’s response to be a “non-answer.”