Karli’s Story

Karli is an author, an international speaker, educator, an advocate, a single mother, and a survivor of rape.

Karli held in her story for a long time, and during this, she was struggling with her day to day tasks. When the time came where Karli felt ready to share, the first friend she shared with told her “are you sure? That doesn’t sound like him” and that made her doubt herself. Following that disclosure, she didn’t share her experience with anyone else for months. Then, when she felt comfortable and shared with someone else, that’s when her friend told her, “Karli, that is rape.”

Karli shares that her friend “did not push it. I think that is a really important fact for a lot of folks including loved ones and friends. Not pushing it is crucial because sometimes we are not ready to hear that. Also, this friend of mine was not a trained professional. It wasn’t until I called the local rape crisis hotline center in college that I experienced someone provide true empathy.”

Karli remembers sitting in her dorm room, with her phone in her hand, and sobbed. That first time, when someone sat with her in silence, was a game changer and a start to Karli’s recovery process.

During her recovery process, Karli became the author of “A Kids Book About Consent” and the podcast host of “Ask For It Podcast.” It was super important for Karli to publish with a company that shared the same beliefs and goals. They published "A Kids Book About Sexual Abuse” with Evelyn Yang in 2021. Karli shares what prompted them to write this book and become a podcast on such an important topic.

“I have always been a communicator and I have always been a talker. I was a theater kid and very embarrassingly, as a feminist, I was in pageants. From there, my undergrad degree was in Communications and I was also very involved on campus and in social justice work. After that, I started working at an advertising firm as an account executive and it became a horrific experience of racist and sexist behavior.”

Karli immediately left the profit sector and worked towards a career as a prevention educator and victim advocate at a rape crisis center. They worked at YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, which is dedicated to empowering women and eliminating racism by providing support to all women along various stages of their journeys. It was at the YWCA where Karli came to terms with the fact that she was a survivor too.

Karli continued to work as a prevention educator and victim advocate in police stations, at hospitals, and on the hotline. Out of all the spaces she advocated and educated individuals at, working at schools for middle school and high school students became one of her favorite places to talk to youth. “I had a different approach to prevention in schools. I would bring humor and storytelling. I would walk in with my tattoo’s and my t-shirt. I wasn’t just another adult telling children what to do, but rather I was more of a peer challenging them what to think. In this work, I found that I wanted to start sharing my story too.”

Karli shared her story through her TedX talk called “I Pooped My Pants.” This humorous approach makes it easy to relate to victims by getting the discussion going on victim-blaming. Karli aims to educate her audiences on the importance of believing victims and not defining them by an experience that was out of their control.

Karli is trained in providing survivors advice on what to do if someone is considering whether or not to come forward with their story of trauma and abuse. With her background in crisis communication, she shares that “there’s a difference between wanting to come out and not knowing how to come out, and then having that proper safe space to come out. I always start telling people about RAINN, hotlines, and their local rape crisis centers because when we come out to friends and families, sometimes they may not get it. There is a huge importance of sharing your story and also accepting your story as well. I always recommend coming out to a professional first, and if that’s not possible, come out to a friend/family member.”

Karli has found a lot of healing in her communities. She attends a lot of conferences and speaks at many international speaking events including the Sexual Assault Conference. Karli states that “finding that community is so important. And another important point is that not everyone has the means to do this. But, getting that professional assistance is critical which is why I love RAINN and local rape crisis centers because majority of them offer free counseling that are specific for survivors and if you know of a survivor.”

Karli is queer (bisexual/pansexual) and disabled. She has depression, ADHD, and CPTSD, from multiple traumas including rape.

Karli shares her message to survivors which is that “No matter how small your experience may feel in comparison to another - your story and experience matter!”