Autry’s Death is Not Her Fault

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Responses to Katie’s death indicating that she deserved what she got are typical among the challenged, small minded among us, and Phyllis Millspaugh’s commentary is a breath of fresh air that the Western community should inhale with full force. It IS time to do something differently, and it’s time to think differently.

As a former student, teaching assistant, and graduate of Western, I personally experienced several “near miss” situations involving sexual assault, and what’s more, I was made aware through my female students’ written or spoken testimonials how widespread the problems of sexual violations against women were. This was back in the late 1980s. Now that 20 years have passed, to notice that these problems are still being dismissed or glossed over by the establishment at WKU is alarming, to say the least.

Though I did not know Ms. Autry personally, and though I have been far removed from the painful past experiences I myself know about, I received the news of Katie’s death with much consternation. Millspaugh’s perspective is right on target, and it’s time the good folks of Western woke up and addressed this situation with tenacity. Until that happens, females should be duly forewarned that they are at risk, and they should do whatever it takes to protect themselves, including going out the door “packing.”

LaNita Kirby, WKU Graduate (1988)

Instructor of English, Rowan Cabarrus Community College (Concord, NC)