Reina Kiefer '17

Posted -

 

Name: Reina Kiefer

Class Year: 2017 

Major/Minor: Double Major Psych/Dance and Gender Studies Minor

Hometown: Berkeley, CA

 

Reina Kiefer wouldn’t describe herself this way, but she is definitely the newest Skidmore celebrity. But maybe celebrity isn’t the best way to describe Reina; perhaps “activist” is more fitting, though she wouldn’t define herself in that way either. Reina would say she is just another college student, but she represents the one in five women who are sexually assaulted during college. And Reina is done being quiet about her assault. With her assailant being given the opportunity to come back to Skidmore, Reina is fighting back. She has planned a silent protest for the day of her assailant’s readmission hearing on March 13th at 1 p.m. and invites anyone who supports the cause to stand in solidarity.

Reina began spreading awareness by creating a Go Fund Me account to raise money for t-shirts. Then she made the Facebook event for the protest. Reina initially invited only 114 people to the Facebook event, but within 24 hours there were over 1000 invites and 250 people attending. Now, she’s totally overwhelmed by the positive response she’s received. Reina has gotten so many messages from people who have told her that the same thing happened to them and many other messages from people who want to help. She said, “It’s been amazing and so empowering. The support I’ve gotten from the community is incredible. It’s also overwhelming and terrifying.”

When I asked Reina about her new role as an activist, she said, “It really only turned into activism a few days ago. People keep asking me what’s next and I have no idea. I’ve been realizing that this is going to be part of my life – I’m passionate about this issue. I have so many ideas for changes that need to happen and I want to pursue them. It kind of makes me want to quit school and go change the world. As far as the protest is concerned, there’s a fine line between advocating for myself and speaking for everyone. To be honest, this isn’t a campaign; it’s an event. That being said, I definitely feel the pressure for it to become something greater. But really, this just started with me being pissed off and hurt and wanting to make a change. It’s taken me a long time to see what was so obvious to other people – what happened to me was wrong.”

She continued, “Mostly I’m just in shock that this is all happening. It’s tough, I realize people don’t necessarily agree with me; everyone’s experience with sexual violence, direct or indirect, is different. Some people may not want their assailants expelled, for whatever reason. And I respect that. I’m not trying to speak for everyone - I hope that by speaking out, other people will feel like they can speak out. The most surreal part of this is the publicity it’s gotten. It’s overwhelming, for sure. You know, haters gonna hate [she chuckles]. There are going to be people who say negative things, but I guarantee that whatever they’re going to say about me is not nearly as horrifying as what happened to me. They’re misinformed. They simply don’t know the whole story. I’m not the type of person who is quiet, ever. I’ve always been this way. That being said, I’m a completely different person than I was ten months ago; my assault was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, but it’s also been the most important.”

And Reina is taking big steps to show people just how important the issue of sexual assault on college campuses is. Reina describes herself as a “lucky” survivor – people listened to her, supported her, and believed her story. She will do anything to get her message across to the administration. People all over have been recognizing Reina for her strength, her courage, and her bravery. Despite all the compliments Reina has received over the past few days, Reina remains as humble as ever: “A lot of people tell me ‘I could never do what you’re doing’ with the protest, but I could never do what I’m doing. You don’t know what you’re capable of until a force drives you to face it.”

 

About The Author

Ileana is a senior at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She lives in Eugene, Oregon when not at school. Ileana is studying Sociology and English. She loves writing, decorating clothing, and spending time with friends. You can also check out her personal blog at http://sometimesiweartiaras.wordpress.com/. Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note

Are you an aspiring journalist or just looking for an outlet where you can share your voice? Apply to write for Her Campus!

User login