A Hinson Girl: Teacher Feature on Kristin Hinson

A+Hinson+Girl%3A+Teacher+Feature+on+Kristin+Hinson

Kristin Hinson stands in front of her Probability and Statistics class with about 20 or so students in it. The room dark and class just starting, 20 students stare at her with blank faces. In a shaky and concerned voice she says, “I just want to let y’all know, if you ever need anything or someone to talk to please know you are always welcome to come talk to me,” Hinson started tearing up, her voice still shaky.

Hinson is 22 years old. She is an average height, precisely 5-foot-6. Hinson is fairly pale with a little bit of freckles on her face, most of the time they are covered up with foundation. She has dark blue eyes, like an Atlantic Ocean blue. Her hair is a shiny, dark chocolate brown that brushes just past her shoulders. Hinson wears her hair straight, or in loose curls. She always has a radiating smile on her face no matter how she is feeling that day.

Hinson seems like she has always had a fairy tale life.

She is a first year teacher who already really loves teaching. Hinson is a fiancée, who is getting married on April 22, 2017. This happens to be the same night as the South Pointe prom. She also plays in a band called The Hinson Girls with her three younger sisters.

Hinson’s life is far from perfect. Hinson, just like every single person in the world has a dark place, one that hurts to talk about.

Erin’s Law requires all public schools in each state to implement a program that prevents oriented child sexual abuse. It teaches students to recognize sexual abuse and tell a trusted adult.  The mission of Erin’s Law is to empower students to have a voice and not let their sex offenders silence them.

“If any of you need anyone to talk to, please know you can come to me because this happened to me about two years ago,” Hinson told her class.

Roughly two years ago, Hinson was in a biology class with about 30-40 people, a smaller college class, at Winthrop. There was a boy who sat behind her every day. They worked on class assignments together a lot. When they would have to work on classwork, Hinson would turn her desk around to work with him.

Near the end of the semester, he wanted to study with Hinson for exams. They met up in her dorm room, alone.

“Which probably wasn’t a good idea, but I thought I knew him. I thought I knew the kind of person he was, and obviously I didn’t, ” said Hinson.

The dorms in her building were suite style, meaning they had two dorm rooms connected by one bathroom. Hinson shared her room with one other girl. The room connected by the bathroom was shared by two other girls who were her suitemates. The roommate and the two suitemates were nowhere to be found in the dorm room that evening.

He came to Hinson’s room to study and since it was typically noisy in the halls of the building, they shut the door.

Hinson says that “we were studying and he leaned over and kissed me. I thought it was weird and it caught me off guard, but I thought he was cute and I kind of liked him. It was fine for a little bit and then it got way out of hand, so I stopped kissing him, but he did not stop kissing me.”

Hinson was raped when she was 19 years old, a sophomore in college.

She screamed for a couple of seconds, but when she gets in awkward situations, Hinson tends to bottle up, so she froze and did nothing.

“Another reason no one would have heard me is because we had girls that lived across the hall and they were always screaming at their boyfriends on the phone, so it was a normal thing for people to be screaming around the dorms,” said Hinson.

Every day after that, she had to see him because neither one of them dropped out. They ignored each other, acting like nothing had ever happened.

When an offender is a friend or an acquaintance, only 18 to 40 percent of sexual assaults are reported.

“No one knows who it is, other than me. Everyone asks. I know I should have reported it to the police and that’s something else I have to deal with because he could be doing it to other girls. I didn’t report it because I didn’t want anyone to know,” Hinson said.

One in five women are sexually assaulted in college and rape is the most under-reported crime.

Even though none of this was Hinson’s fault she still felt like it was. She’s the one who had him over. She’s the one who was alone with a boy. She’s the one who thought she knew someone just because she met him a couple of times.

“I’m really quick to attach myself to people, I like people. Even with teaching, my students are in here for a day and I feel like somehow I have a relationship with them, that’s just my personality,” Hinson said.

After she was raped, Hinson became distant with people because she thought that her personality was why she was raped. She decided that she was going to deal with it by herself and she did not need other people to know. She was hurt, ashamed, embarrassed, and alone.

Hinson, like other survivors of rape, did not report it because she did not want her family to know and she did not want others to know.

“I just wanted my life to go back to the way it was without everyone finding out,” Hinson said.

For two months, Hinson was the only person who knew about the incident. For a week, she stayed in her bed and felt bad for herself. She did nothing but wallow around all day.

She started reading things online that were supposed to help victims of sexual assault, but it did not help her. However, one day she decided it wasn’t worth being sad over, it wasn’t something she could control, it wasn’t something she could change, and she finally realized it wasn’t her fault.

“I just stopped talking about it. I stopped thinking about it as much as I could and moved on with my life,” Hinson recalls.

Everything was fine and then two months later, devastated, Hinson thought she was pregnant. That was very hard on her, so she decided she needed to tell someone she trusted. Hinson told her best friend and both of them freaked out together. Luckily, Hinson was not pregnant.

Just recently, Hinson started going to counseling. Counseling has helped her, but it is her personal relationship with God that mainly helped her cope with what happened.

What happened to Hinson was just a tragic event; however, it does not define who she is. Now, it is another way that she can relate to other people, and the fact that she’s not alone.

“I don’t struggle with it now, like I used to,” states Hinson.

Things are really looking up for Hinson, she is getting married to Nate Kunde in April. She is very excited to start a life with Kunde, as they will continue a strong relationship with God through their marriage.

She does admit that she is nervous to start a life with Kunde soon because of the rape. “I’m kind of nervous about marrying Nate and him getting that close to me pretty soon because I’m scared it might become a problem,” Hinson said.

As for the band, Hinson and her sisters travel and play gospel music at different churches on the weekends.

“We see the band as a ministry, because we sing gospel songs, and it would be hard to say we don’t want to do it anymore because God gave us the talent to do it,” Hinson said.

Not only does Hinson inspire people through worshipping with the band, she also inspires her students like Katlyn Lucas who is a South Pointe High School senior and Hinson’s former student.

Lucas says, “She (Hinson) always encouraged me to do my best and never failed to help anybody when they needed it. She always made sure her students were okay and she has always been there for us, she always made me feel like I could come talk to her.”

Hunter Tomlin is also a senior at South Pointe High School and former student of Hinson’s. He also has nothing but good things to say about Hinson.

Tomlin says, “She’s a personal teacher, she actually is friends with her students and builds relationships with them. She’s very helpful, like when we have questions she always answers them.”

Despite the tragic event Hinson endured, she has never left God’s side. For the most part she has always remained strong in her faith, not willing to blame God for the terrible thing that happened to her. She uses what happened to her as a strength, and not a weakness. Today Hinson wants to be more than a teacher, she wants to be someone that people can turn to even in their weakest times.

Today Hinson is no longer hurt, ashamed, embarrassed, and alone. Today Hinson is faithful, loving, caring, and forgiving.

By Margaret Simpson, contributor