The Sunflower

In their words: Brinkley accusers speak at SGA meeting

Women accusing Kenon Brinkley of sexual assault spoke during Wednesday's student government meeting. Brinkley, who resigned as student body president Wednesday, has not responded to requests for comment. Below are those women's full, unedited statements.

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In their words: Brinkley accusers speak at SGA meeting

Graphic by Madeline Deabler

Graphic by Madeline Deabler

Madeline Deabler

Graphic by Madeline Deabler

Madeline Deabler

Madeline Deabler

Graphic by Madeline Deabler

Maia Cuellar

My name is Maia Cuellar. I am the author of the article posted on Feb. 10, 2019, which detailed my experiences with Kenon Brinkley.

I noted all my experiences to provide full context. Rape is an incredibly serious matter, and to accuse someone of such an atrocity is not something I take lightly.

I have spent these past few days crying, reading hateful messages and comments. I have also cried tears of relief at the even more powerful messages from people who show their solidarity and tell me that they believe me.

I have completely dissociated from my body when trying to do the simplest of tasks. My incredible boyfriend has helped me do tasks as simple as eating and drinking water, as otherwise I have had to force myself to do so.

I had to leave work during a middle of a shift because of the overwhelming toll this situation has taken on my mental health.

I have spent hours trying to defend myself to strangers on social media, reading their cutting words and disgust with me.

I have also spent hours messaging with other victims of assault who had the bravery to reach out to me and share their story with me.

I have had the absolute honor of talking within a closed group of amazing women who have shared their stories about the mental, emotional, and physical abuse that Kenon Brinkley has put them through.

This is my story.

Kenon and I had an explicit conversation about the importance of using condoms when having sex.

Kenon told me that himself and his fraternity preach the importance of safe sex.

Kenon and I had multiple consensual sexual interactions before with protection.

Kenon had my trust that he would continue to only have sex with me while wearing protection.

Kenon abused my trust on June 17 of 2017.

Kenon penetrated me without wearing a condom without my consent. He made sure I wasn’t looking when he did it.

The RAINN organization defines rape as “sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.” The only thing explicit that Kenon knew was that if him and I were going to have sex, condoms were an expectation.

I have been called a liar. I have been told I am stretching the truth. I have been called stupid, ignorant, and a disgrace to “actual” rape victims.

I have been raped before. I have shared that story publicly as well. I did not share that young man’s name because I knew he was not a danger to other women. He is receiving professional help for what he has done to me. I know I am his only victim. He was not, nor is he now in a position of power.

For those of you who believe that I am racist because I named Kenon, but not my first rapist on the assumption that he is white, you should know that my first rapist is also black.

This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with Kenon Brinkley needing to see consequences for his actions.

Whether or not you believe that what happened to me constitutes rape is not for me to convince you of.

I have shared my story with the public in graphic detail.

My family members can read it — my siblings, my parents, my employers.

Anyone I know can read every detail of my sexual history with him for the rest of my life.

I made this choice and shared my story in the hopes that it can protect other women from his predatory behavior.

You can choose not to believe me, but you cannot deny that my story and the story of these other women shows his manipulative, abusive, and destructive pattern of behavior.

When I initially shared my story, I thought I was his only victim.

To my knowledge, including myself, there are at least 13 women who have experienced physical or verbal harassment, have been sexually assaulted, or raped by Kenon Brinkley.

Thirteen lives, permanently altered by the choices of Kenon Brinkley.

Kenon was in a position of power which represented the WSU student body.

I have received so much support from the WSU student body, old high school classmates, my family and friends, my significant other, as well as total strangers.

I have received kind comments, messages and solidarity.

The WSU student body to me represents kindness, compassion, and empathy.

Thank you to every single one of you who have supported me, the women here today, and all victims of sexual assault.

The WSU student body that I have interacted with is not a representation of who their SGA president was.

To me, former SGA president Kenon Brinkley is a rapist.

Rapists should not be in a position of power. This is why I spoke out.

It has become apparent to me from my discussions with these other strong women beside me that Kenon is a serial rapist. He will do this again if he gets the opportunity.

Do not provide him with that opportunity. Provide him consequences for his choices.

Jozie Caudillo

Hi everyone. I’m going to begin this by strongly emphasizing the point that I am personally restricted by a university-issued No Contact order from speaking in detail about my personal experience. But as I believe that this speech is a matter of public concern, I will simply say what happened to me and how it made me feel.

I’m terrified to be up here, but it is only with the shared support and strength of the other women affected that I have been able to be in contact with in the past 72 hours that I feel the passion and strength to stand in front of you all today.

For the first time in six months, today I am speaking my truth, and even though I’m scared shitless, here goes nothing. In September of this past year, I was physically assaulted following four months of verbal, emotional, mental and psychological abuse. For months, I endured emotional and psychological abuse as I was a victim of someone that would threaten suicide if I were to leave them.

This person would disappear for hours at a time, intentionally acting in a way that he knew would provoke a reaction out of myself and others. After months of enduring this and more, I began efforts to leave the relationship. It was not long after then that I was physically assaulted.

After being physically assaulted, I confided in two faculty members here on campus and reported my experience to Title IX. At that time, I was too emotionally invested, intimidated, and fearful to agree to pursue an investigation. I believe I was manipulated into telling Title IX not to pursue an investigation at the time, as I was promised that what happened to me could be rectified in other ways. It never was.

After a few months, I began to feel that I was cheated in silence — that there was never going to be any justice for what had happened to me. I began asking questions about what would happen if I did decide to come forward with Title IX. I was told that I should really think about what I was doing. I was told that no one would believe my story. I was told I should have left when I had the chance. I was told that I should have never let it get to that point. I was told that I was asking for it. And I was told it was my fault.

In the months following my abuse, I began to realize how many people were complicit in what had happened to me. My abuser’s behavior began far before me, as you will see in the stories shared here and in the stories that are not.

There are members of this university and its organizations, especially his fraternity, that have been aware of the pattern of behavior far before I ever met my abuser, and they did nothing. Nothing to stop him for hurting future girls — girls that are like me. This is why I and the other women here today are risking everything to speak in front of you, to stop this from happening to anyone else. People that have never experienced something like this do not understand how traumatizing it truly is.

Relationship and intimate partner violence cuts deeper, deeper than the surface, and its scars can take a lifetime to heal. Things are hardly ever as cut and dry as they may seem. In just six short months, I found myself lower than I had ever been. To this day, I feel I should be over it but I am not. My trauma haunts me every single day, and it will continue to haunt me in everything that I do.

Because of what happened to me, I was drained of my identity and infected with self doubt. I was left questioning my own sanity, walking around aimlessly at war with my own mind, body, and soul every single day. I no longer wanted to live. My mental state was shaken to the core, and I am still in the process of remembering who I was before this happened to me.

I still remember hearing my own voice scream my roommate’s name over and over as loud as I could so she could come and save me. I remember begging for hours — please just let me go, please just let me go. I remember being pinned to the ground, verbally assaulted to the point of dissociating from my own body as my only way to escape the trauma.

I can still hear the sound of my shower door breaking off its hinges from the force of my small body being shoved into it. I wake up every morning with scars on my body, and those scars will be what I have to live with for the rest of my life. Because of what happened to me, I slit my wrists that following morning for the first time in my life.

I have been unable to speak about what happened to me until now. Because of what happened to me, I had to resign from my position within this very senate. Because of what happened to me, I began failing all of my classes and was forced to withdraw. I nearly dropped out of school.

I still have nightmares every single day and suffer from PTSD from the months of trauma that I endured. To this day, I have to live with the affects of my abuse. These affects flood every aspect of my life and hinder my ability to enjoy even simple things.

I’m a student like all of you. I was a young, naive girl and just wanted to help in any way that I could. I was vulnerable enough to show the deepest parts of my soul to someone that violated my trust by using it to hurt me — verbally, emotionally, psychologically, and physically.

Now it is time I believe that we all need to look within ourselves and stand with survivors against those that prey on vulnerable women to violate their bodies, trust, and minds.

I am wholeheartedly appreciative for all of the endless support and love that I have found throughout this process, and to each of the senators and cabinet members that have worked so hard to allow us to feel validated and free. Coming forward in times like these and sharing what happened is invalidating, dehumanizing, painful, scary, and traumatizing.

For all of the women and men that mine and the other women here today’s story resonates with, I encourage you to find peace in whatever way that you can. Confide in those that you can trust and remember that you are not alone. Trust yourself and do what you know is right.

I felt alone until now.

But now I know that I am not alone. My story has power. My voice has power. I can make a difference in the lives of others speaking my truth.

And on a final note — If you are someone that notices or witnesses dangerous behavior in someone and their actions towards others, report them.

I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to share my story in the small way that I have here today.

Thank you.

Emily Raine

My name is Emily Raine. I am a sophomore at Kansas State University, and I drove down here in the middle of my school week just for this occasion.

I met Kenon Brinkley in May of 2015 at a state forensics competition in Topeka. I was 15, about to turn 16, and he was 18 and about to graduate. We added each other on Facebook and continued to talk for a while before exchanging numbers.

He always said he was extremely busy and he seldom had time to meet up, but when we did, he was always very interested in sex. I told him that I wasn’t comfortable with having intercourse and that I had never had sex before, and he dropped the subject for a few months.

In approximately September or October of 2015, he told me he loved me and said that love to him was a verb and used that to pressure me into saying yes to having sex with him. I told him that if we ever had sex, he must use a condom. I was very clear on the fact that my consent was conditional — no condom meant no consent.

He agreed and said that using protection was very important. We had intercourse three times over the course of about a year. The first time was consensual. Kenon took me to his house, and I watched him put on a condom before we had intercourse.

Afterwards, he showed me his collection of katanas and how to use them. He told me that he was in some kind of top-secret group of assassins and hinted that he had killed people before. He said that he was under constant surveillance and that every time he was seen with me, he was physically punished because he was only allowed to date inside this group.

The other two times we had sex were in the back seat of his car at a park in downtown Wichita, and both times, he removed the condom without my knowledge.

I was afraid to say anything to him about it because of what he’d said about the secret society he was in. I didn’t really believe him, but he made it seem reasonable, and I didn’t know what he would do. I didn’t have a car at the time, so if I said something and he got upset, I was afraid that he would either leave me alone downtown with no way to get home, or simply overpower me and do what he wanted anyways.

To guilt me into consenting to unprotected sex, he said that he had incredible control over his body and that if I made him use a condom, it meant I didn’t trust him. I always told him that if we were going to have intercourse, he must wear a condom.

In May of 2016, I finally broke off our relationship, and he blocked or removed me on all social media. All of this happened nearly four years ago, but it’s still really difficult for me to even think about. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that Kenon Brinkley raped me and emotionally manipulated me into silence.

I found out yesterday around noon that I wasn’t the only one. I was scrolling through Twitter when Maia’s article popped up. I opened it and saw his name, and all of these memories and emotions I had tried to forget for so long came rushing back.

I reached out to Maia, and she put me into a private group chat of other girls who had similar experiences with Kenon. A few hours later, I learned that this meeting would take place today. I immediately dropped everything I had going on in my town of Manhattan and drove here to Wichita at 6 p.m. last night because this man destroyed my sense of self-worth and my ability to trust anyone, and it is important to me to speak out about this with these other beautiful, strong women.

I am not an eloquent speaker, nor am I proficient at expressing my feelings (in part because of Kenon’s manipulation and abuse) but suffice it to say that this has affected every aspect of my life, and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t wonder how my life could be different had I never met Kenon Brinkley.

My reason for speaking today isn’t to ruin his life or get revenge, but to warn other people about this pattern of behavior and hopefully prevent Kenon from doing what he did to us to anyone else.

Anonymous WSU student whose statement was read aloud

We matched on Tinder in August of 2017. It was my first few weeks of college. He was cute and poetic, so we messaged for a bit. A majority of it was quite sexual, but then again, it was Tinder.

After a bit of talking, we agreed to meet in a hotel. I said I’d drink and smoke weed with him. I said I’d have sex with him. I told myself it would be fun. I knew how to drink and I knew how to smoke and he knew what he was doing. This is what I told myself.

I had one drink. There were probably two shots of vodka in that drink, at most. From the kitchenette, we moved to the bathroom, and he pulled out a tub full of cat litter and marijuana. Soon, the pipe was full, and he handed it to me. I took a drag, and then coughed until I cried. I swore I wasn’t new to it, and he laughed at me. I stopped with the substances at that point.

The substances did not stop with me. They hit me like a truck. I think I may have been numb. I was so intoxicated I was silly.  This was not one drink, one drag behavior. In fact, the friend who picked me up afterward categorized my behavior as “hella drunk.”

We initiated sexual contact, and after a bit, I realized I was not okay. I wanted to stop, I wanted to say no, but I couldn’t. I told myself that I consented beforehand, and that was good enough. But I just wanted to sleep. I remember almost falling asleep during a lull in activity. He got up to grab a condom — or to replace the condom. I don’t remember. I know I was half asleep, lying on my side, when he suggested changing positions  I did not want to. I could not move my body. After 20 or so seconds, I pulled myself out of the stupor, and I complied.

I was quite inebriated. But I do remember saying,  “Stop, please, ouch, it hurts.” He did not stop. He kept going because “Oh, but, I’m so close.” This was also a lie. It hurt. It kept fucking hurting. And he did not stop.

I do not know what substances that put me in that state, and I do not trust Kenon Brinkley. He took advantage of me, and has taken many other things — my clarity, my tears, and my assurance — in myself, and especially in him. I do not believe this is the proper behavior of any person, let alone a student body president. It is because of this that I believe he should be impeached.

I know he did it to Maia. I know because he did it to me, too. And he should not be allowed to do it to another.

Newly sworn-in Student Body President Shelby Rowell listens to Maia Cuellar speak during open forum of the Student Senate meeting Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Brinkley resigned as Student Body President Wednesday morning amid accusations that he sexually assaulted Cuellar in 2017.

Selena Favela
Newly sworn-in Student Body President Shelby Rowell listens to Maia Cuellar speak during open forum of the Student Senate meeting Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Brinkley resigned as Student Body President Wednesday morning amid accusations that he sexually assaulted Cuellar in 2017.

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About the Photographers
Madeline Deabler, Design Editor, Cartoonist

Madeline Deabler is a Design Editor, Cartoonist and a Reporter for The Sunflower. Deabler is a junior and is double majoring in journalism and graphic...

Selena Favela, Photo Editor

Selena Favela is the Photo Editor for The Sunflower. Favela is a junior majoring in graphic design with a minor in communications. She is from Wichita,...

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