Tags: emma sulkowicz | mattress | rape | columbia

Emma Sulkowicz Carries Mattress Around School Until Her Rapist Is Expelled

By    |   Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 12:54 PM

Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University senior, has vowed to carry her twin-sized mattress everywhere with her until the male student she claims raped her two years ago is expelled.

A visual arts major at the university, Sulkowicz considers the stunt a performance art piece, which is doubling as her senior thesis project.

"Rape can happen anywhere," she explained in a video interview with the Columbia Daily Spectator. "For me, I was raped in my own dorm bed. Since then, it has basically become fraught for me, and I feel like I've carried the weight of what happened there with me everywhere since then."

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Sulkowicz said she was raped by a male classmate on the first day of her sophomore year. Despite the fact that the alleged attacker was also reported by two other students, university administrators swept the incidents under the rug and there were never any repercussions for the suspect, according to The Huffington Post.

"The past year or so of my life has been really marked by telling people what happened in that most intimate private space and bringing it out into the light," Sulkowicz told the news site. "So I think the act of carrying something that is normally found in our bedroom out into the light is supposed to mirror the way I've talked to the media and talked to different news channels, etc."

Sulkowicz and 22 others have banded together to file federal complaints alleging "systematic mishandling of assault claims and mistreatment of victims" by Columbia and its sister school, Barnard College, according to The New York Times.

In the wake of the complaints, Columbia University reportedly updated its sexual assault policy and expanded educational training for incoming students.

"Their revised policy still has gaping holes," Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, a member of the campus rape survivor and activist group No Red Tape Columbia, told CBS New York. "I think what [Sulkowicz is] doing is forcing people to confront this reality. It's been her private reality for too long, but it's really been our reality as a community."

Some students on campus told the television station that they admired Sulkowicz for speaking out on the subject.

"I haven't personally come up against it, thank God, but, I mean, if she's going out to that length I believe in it strongly," sophomore Janay Anderson told CBS New York.



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Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University senior, has vowed to carry her twin-sized mattress everywhere with her until the male student she claims raped her two years ago is expelled.
emma sulkowicz, mattress, rape, columbia
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2014-54-04
Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 12:54 PM
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