Columbia student will carry her mattress until her rapist exits school
September 2, 2014
While most students at Columbia University will spend the first day of classes carrying backpacks and books, Emma Sulkowicz will start her semester on Tuesday with a far heavier burden. The senior plans on carrying an extra-long, twin-size mattress across the quad and through each New York City building – to every class, every day – until the man she says raped her moves off campus.
“I was raped in my own bed,” Sulkowicz told me the other day, as she was gearing up to head back to school in this, the year American colleges are finally, supposedly, ready to do something about sexual assault. “I could have taken my pillow, but I want people to see how it weighs down a person to be ignored by the school administration and harassed by police.”
Sulkowicz is one of three women who made complaints to Columbia against the same fellow senior, who was found “not responsible” in all three cases. She also filed a police report, but Sulkowicz was treated abysmally – by the cops, and by a Columbia disciplinary panel so uneducated about the scourge of campus violence that one panelist asked how it was possible to be anally raped without lubrication.
So Sulkowicz joined a federal complaint in April over Columbia’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases, and she will will hoist that mattress on her shoulders as part savvy activism, part performance art. “The administration can end the piece, by expelling him,” she says, “or he can, by leaving campus.”
As painful as I know the constant reminder of attending school with her rapist must be, I’m glad she won’t be the only one forced to remember. I hope the rapist drops out immediately…or better yet, I hope he faces the justice he deserves.
I made a political cartoon for English class about issues in school
It focuses on how teens are expected to make career defining choices with barely any experience, and also how parents often take so much authority that their child’s decision is not actually their own
If this gets some notes then I’ll make a colored version
thank fucking you. this defines me a few years ago really accurately
story time! At college some of us were talking about tattoos we want. Our teacher said “you don’t want to get a tattoo at eighteen because you might change your mind.” I said “I had to decide my entire career path when I was fourteen when I chose my GCSEs. I think I can decide on a bird on my wrist at eighteen.”
This is the latest anti-Semitic/ racist salute. It was first claimed to be anti Zionist but has escalated to anti-Jewry and anti-semitism all around. If you see anyone doing this salute called the/a “Quenelle” swiftly punch them in the face, scold them, whatever you feel like, just recognize that this is a symbol of hatred!
Please be careful guys (esp. Jewish, queer, or disabled people, or people of color.) I’ve seen Neo-Nazis do this, and they can be really dangerous groups of people to be around.