Wednesday night, Andrea Cooper came to speak to RC about her daughter, Kristin’s, rape and suicide. Kristin committed suicide New Year’s Eve in 1995. Her mother and father discovered her body in their living room around 2 a.m. after they returned home from a party. Kristin had shot herself. Cooper was surprised to see her daughter home; she was supposed to be at a party. Cooper said she heard music playing loudly and walked into her living room to see her daughter laying on the ground and looking “peaceful.”Â Her first assumption was that Kristin had passed out drunk. As Cooper got a closer look, she realized her daughter was not breathing. She called for her husband and dialed 911.
As the detectives were clearing the scene, Cooper asked if her daughter left a suicide note. Kristin had left a note, which was written in October, about three months before her actual suicide. Cooper and her husband did not get to read the note for two weeks after the police were done examining the journal it was written in. Cooper thought that a breakup with Kristin’s boyfriend was the cause of a depression Kristin had been suffering with for a few months. As Cooper and her husband read through their daughter’s journal, they encountered something unexpected. Kristin was raped in August.
Kristin was in her sophomore year of college when her boyfriend broke up with her, about a month after her rape. Kristin had been depressed for months after the break up. Cooper had noticed this in her daughter and also noticed she had been writing in her journal. Cooper decided she was going to get Kristin help if she was still depressed when she came home again, not knowing about the rape.Â Kristin Â seemed happy when she did visit home again. Cooper believes this was because her daughter had come to terms with her decision to commit suicide.Â Cooper said, “If I was a snoopy mother” and read the journal, her daughter might be alive.
Because of a law in Colorado, where the family lived at the time, her rapist would not be prosecuted because Kristin could not take the stand and accuse her rapist. This did not stop Cooper. She contacted two of Kristin’s friends who admitted they knew about the rape which had occurred at a life guard party. Cooper believed she knew the identity of her daughter’s rapist, a fellow lifeguard who worked with Kristin and was a friend to her. She wrote a letter, not accusing, to the man who she believed raped her daughter. She never heard from this man.
After sharing her daughter’s story, Cooper went over the warning signs of depression and suicide. She also stressed the importance of getting help, pointing out RC’s Counseling Center and Health Services.Â Cooper went over striking statistics about rape, and she went over how to help a friend who has been raped. In the beginning of her presentation, Cooper gave out her cell phone number and at the end of her presentation took questions sent in by text. She graciously urged the audience to keep her number in case any more questions come to mind or if down the road they need a mother figure to talk to should they be sexually assaulted.
For more information, go to www.kristinsstory.com
Cooper provided a number which would connect you to the nearest rape crisis center: 1-800-656-HOPE