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.”
So Sulkowicz joined a federal complaint in April over Columbia’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases, and she 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.
At just 11 years old, Quvenzhané Wallis has already starred in 3 major motion pictures, is the youngest person ever to receive an Oscar nomination for best actress, and is the first Black child to receive an Oscar nomination. Now, after leading a remake of the classic story of “Annie”, she has been nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress. Her quote comes from an interview in which the interviewer insisted on calling her Annie because her name was “too difficult” to pronounce.