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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
She said she decided to sleep with her teacher because she
enjoyed knowing he was a man, not a boy, who craved her
“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