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.
Fun little trick I learned in therapy: validation. When someone is upset, don’t try to fix the problem, point out the cause, or tell them it could be worse. Just validate their emotions. Be like, ‘shit yeah man, that sucks. I’m sorry you’re going through that. I’m here for you.’ That’s literally all you have to do to make them feel better. Thank you and goodnight.
it’s weird how straight boys will find out that a girl is bisexual and then think that girl wants to fuck them with another girl. And if they find out a guy is gay they think that guy wants to fuck them.
No one wants to have sex with you. You are are not cute. At all.
Fun fact: if you approach an employee and insist that they go ‘check the back’ for an item that’s not on the shelf, there is a 90% chance that they’ll go to the back room, scratch their ass and check their text messages for five minutes, and come back out with a sympathetic smile and a ‘Sorry!’ because they know without even looking that the stock isn’t there.
Or the old “can you ask a manager?”