It’s Dec. 5, 2009. Monika Kørra rapidly types on her keyboard, writing a sports management paper at 9 p.m. Cross country season has ended and Kørra is preparing for finals. She finally finishes her assignment. She is tired, drained of energy.
Kørra and her friends battle whether to go to bed early or socialize. Eventually, they reach a decision to attend a party, an invitation extended by a fellow athlete on the soccer team.
A friend picks the girls up and drives them to the off-campus apartment. The foursome stays for a few hours until George, the friend who drove, decides to go home. He promises to pick the girls up when they want to leave.
Hours pass, and the girls decide to go home. They call George and he arrives a few yards away from the apartment. Kørra and her friends walk outside, hand-in-hand in the cold toward the car.
Screams ring out against the dark night. The girls break hands. Kørra turns around, thinking someone is asking for directions.
“Next thing I know someone grabbed me and had a gun to my head,” Kørra said. “That was the first thing I felt.”
A man threatens to kill her if she does not comply. He throws her into a van where two more men are sitting inside. Then, they drive off.
For the next 24 hours, Kørra said her sense of time and place is skewed.
“Every second felt so long,” she said. “The only thing working at that time is your brain – I kept thinking if I was going to die or not.”
Kørra says at that point her body went into survival mode. She knew what she had to do to live.
The three men rape her. It shifts one by one, two at a time, three at a time – gun still pointed toward her.
But Kørra feels nothing. She is numb.
Suddenly her eyes refocus as she sees another women’s shoes in the van.
“That was my turning point,” Kørra said. “I almost felt like I was going to give up, but when I saw those shoes it made me really angry, it made me feel the need to survive to make sure these men will never do this to anyone again.”
After, the men begin to drive again. She is naked and her eyes are duct taped shut.
The car stops. The door slides open. She feels a push. The men throw her out along with her dress.
“Run,” they said, deadpan.
Kørra doesn’t. Her legs, feeling like jelly, fall onto the street. It takes her moments to try getting up on her feet and walk. She struggles.
“I often have that nightmare,” she said. “I try to walk and something is holding me back and I don’t have the strength to move; I try and try but I’m just too weak.”
A deep instinct tells her to persevere. Even though she is scared, she runs and asks for help.
Kørra stands in the middle of the road, dress on and duct tape tangled in her hair. A car eventually loops around to help. She freezes.
“I took off running,” she said. “That’s the thing – you lose all trust in the world when this happens.”
But her need to survive outweighs the fear. She stays at a distance from the car and says she needs help.
Police arrive shortly after. They talk to her and eventually calm her down. She realizes this is real, she is safe, she has survived.
Kørra had been gone for one hour, twenty minutes; but to her it felt much longer.
It’s Sept. 1, 2015. Monika Kørra rapidly types on her keyboard, writing an email at 11:30 a.m. Her book, “Kill the Silence” is released in bookstores and Kørra prepares for the new journey ahead. She is alive; she is full of energy.
Kørra is more than a survivor. She is now an author, a motivational speaker and an inspiration. Her story recounting the night she was raped, her road to recovery and the process of her trial to jail her rapists shows readers “life can go on despite times of adversity.”
“If my story can change one person’s life, especially someone who had gone through something similar as I did, that gives me the energy to continue,” Kørra said.
Kørra’s book, “Kill the Silence: A Survivor’s Life Reclaimed,” was published Aug. 25, 2015. She continues to share her story and will do so in Dallas in the following upcoming events:
Sept. 12: 2 p.m., Southern Methodist University Barnes & Noble, 3060 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75205
Sept. 22: 6:30 p.m., Luke’s Locker, 7317 Gaston Ave., Dallas, TX
For more information, please visit http://www.monikakorra.org.