Feb. 3: Survivor, author discusses campus sex assault, recovery

By Beverly Makhani, Office of Undergraduate Education

LauraGray-Rosendale-80PULLMAN, Wash. – In her latest book, “College Girl: A Memoir,” university professor Laura Gray-Rosendale describes the brutal rape and beating she endured as a Syracuse University junior in 1988 and the massive confusion and challenges she overcame in the months and years since.

She will present “College Girl: Telling Our Transgressive Survivor Stories” at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, in the CUB 212 junior ballroom at Washington State University. Her lecture, readings, book signing and refreshments are free to the public.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Gray-Rosendale to WSU to present this guest lecture on sexual assault and recovery, which is an important subject on all college campuses today,” said Victor Villanueva, WSU regents professor of English and director of The Writing Program at WSU.

Gray-Rosendale is a President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where she is a professor of English and directs STAR English, a writing program for at-risk freshmen.

“I have shared projects professionally with her over the years on the teaching and dynamics of writing,” Villanueva said. “It will be fascinating to hear her share from her award-winning, gritty and honest memoir some accounts of her personal and painful journey from trauma to recovery.”

Gray-Rosendale’s book describes the many paths she had to follow. While maintaining a life as an undergraduate, she worked with legal authorities to see her attacker incarcerated. She has penned therapeutic journals for two decades. And she has completed four college degrees—all at Syracuse.

Since “College Girl” was published in 2013, her journey has taken her to several universities—including her alma mater—to encourage campus communities to “augment, extend and expand” support to sexual assault survivors.

“By humanizing sexual violence in her book, Gray-Rosendale said she hopes ‘College Girl: A Memoir’ serves as a reminder that there is a life after the trauma of physical and emotional abuse,” said contributing writer Teresa Sabga in an October 2014 story on Syracuse.com, the website for Syracuse Media Group.

Hosting the WSU lecture is The Writing Program, part of the Office of Undergraduate Education. Co-sponsors include the Office of the President, the Department of English, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies.

The Writing Program has been ranked among the best in the nation for more than a decade in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Academic Programs to Watch For.”

For more than 25 years, the program has worked to develop the communication skills of all students and among all members of the university community. In charge of the Junior Writing Portfolio and Writing Assessment, the program also provides no-cost peer mentoring to boost confidence and competency in writing; more than 12,000 WSU students are served by the Writing Center of the program each year.


Victor Villanueva, WSU regents professor of English and director of The Writing Program, 509-335-2680, victorv@wsu.edu