Apr 282004
 
Authors: Lindsay Robinson

Cheryl King loves sex, and she openly admits it.

As the keynote speaker for Take Back the Night, King also spoke

openly about her first orgasm at 9 years old, getting gang-raped at

16 and being blackmailed for sex by her high school choir

teacher.

The 50-something King is a New York comedian, playwright, actor,

acting coach and ex-stripper.

While King has had her share of negative sexual encounters, her

overall message was that women should embrace their sexuality.

“When we cooperate with the idea that sex is shameful, we create

an environment in which a girl walking down the street alone at

night can be a victim of sexual violence,” she said Wednesday night

in the Clark Building.

At the same time, however, King said women need to stand up for

their sexuality and their right to not be taken advantage of.

“As long as we allow our rights to be violated they will be,”

King said. “We need to stand and fight against it. Events like Take

Back the Night are a crucial part of that campaign.”

King also expressed concern with the way the Bush administration

has handled sexual matters, pointing out that money is taken away

from other family planning resources to fund programs like

abstinence-only education. She called this “frightening.”

King incorporated acting into her talk, at times portraying

Carol, the main character of her show, which is called “Not a Nice

Girl.” King wrote the play, which she performs solo, based on her

own sexual experiences.

The play opens with a 9-year-old Carol being admonished by her

mother for discovering the enjoyment that can be derived from warm

water pouring out of the bathtub faucet.

When King was 16, she was invited to a party and, even though

she noticed that she was the only girl in attendance, she allowed

herself to become drunk for the first time. She was subsequently

gang-raped and was taunted at her high school with the nickname of

“Super Seven.”

However, King refused to give in to the idea that she was raped,

convincing herself for most of her life that she had brought it

upon herself.

“Didn’t I invite my own rape by staying there when I could tell

the situation was awry? No! I had a right not to be violated but it

took me until I was 51 years old before I realized that,” King

said.

She said the reason she refused to admit it was because she did

not like the lack of control that came with being raped.

“Why did I not want to accept that I was raped? Because it was

easier for me to be the slut than to be so vulnerable,” she

said.

King also realized that she had not been “asking for it,” as one

of her rapists had told her.

She said society needs to dispel the perception that rape

victims bring on their own suffering, because this simply gives

into the myth that men cannot control their sexual desire.

“Rape is an act of violence,” she said. “Ask anyone. Ask

me.”

During her senior year in high school, King said her choir

teacher, well aware of her “Super Seven” reputation, forced her to

give him hand jobs and attempted to blackmail her into sleeping

with him in exchange for receiving an award and accompanying

scholarship. King refused the offer.

However, following graduation, King ultimately had sex with her

teacher anyway.

She said she decided to sleep with her teacher because she

enjoyed knowing he was a man, not a boy, who craved her

sexually.

“Sure Mr. Summers coerced me, but he seemed a level above those

boys who raped me,” she said.

Those who attended King’s talk appreciated her candidness.

“I thought she was awesome, really informative and willing to

open up. I just think that’s really great,” said Sonya Henriksen, a

junior history major.

Elinor Abbott, a Fort Collins resident involved in the Campus

Women’s Alliance, said King’s openness is part of the reason she

was an attractive keynote speaker for Take Back the Night.

“I thought she would be a really good person to bring in,”

Abbott said. “She’s obviously really comfortable talking about

herself.”

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