Kristin Cooper was a sophomore in college when she came home for winter break in 1995. On New Year’s Eve, her parents, Andrea and Mike, went out to a party. When they got home, they found her laying in the living room, Alanis Morrissette’s “You Oughtta Know” booming from the speakers. She wasn’t breathing.
When Andrea leaned in to check for a pulse, she saw a gun between Kristin’s legs and a pool of blood behind her body. She was dead.
Mike and Andrea thought Kristin had killed herself because of a bad breakup a few months before. They didn’t find out the truth until the next day, when a police detective reported what he had found in Kristin’s journal: she had been raped, and had been suffering from clinical depression.
This was the story Andrea Cooper brought to the Flamingo Ballroom on Wednesday night. “Kristin’s Story,” her lecture about rape and depression, brought to light not only her daughter’s story, but opened venues for other sexual assault victims to seek help.
“It was amazing. She’s a very strong woman,” said Lucy Evans, a junior who attended the talk. “It was very encouraging; very comforting.”
“It’s a topic we really haven’t covered well enough on campus,” said Jennifer Brack, Assistant Director of Business Services.
The lecture covered options for victims of rape and depression, information for friends and family, as well as various contact numbers, books and websites. Cooper also gave warning signs of clinical depression and what friends and family can and should do to help.
“The things she said were very applicable with the situation here at UM,” said Mike Johnston, member of Pi Kappa Alpha. “She was very honest, very open and very sincere.
“I really think the University should endorse more programs like this for a lot more topics.”
Andrea Cooper began “Kristin’s Story” in 1998 as a way to help cope with her loss. Since then, she has spoken to over 50,000 college students. The National Offices of Delta Delta Delta and Alpha Chi Omega, Andrea’s and Kristin’s sororities, respectively, pay for ten annual talks on college campuses all over the country.
“I’ve been waiting two years for this,” Brack said. “I was thrilled we had this experience tonight.”
With a nearly full room, most people were very satisfied by Cooper’s information. However, this was not the case for all the attendees.
“It was probably most helpful to people who were not victims or didn’t know anything,” said Stacey Seigel, a junior.
“I thought there were a lot of issues she didn’t address,” said Kelly Spear, a sophomore.