Wednesday, September 10, 2014

University Student Carries Mattress Until Alleged Rapist Is Expelled

Emma Sulkowicz, a visual arts major at Columbia University, is taking a stand against the fact that the student she accuses of raping her in August 2012, Jean-Paul Nungesser, is still on campus. Sulkowicz is carrying a mattress around the campus as a reminder. She states, “The thing about beds is, we keep them in our bedroom, which is this intimate space, our private space, where we can retreat if we don’t want to deal with anyone at that moment. The past year or so of my life has been marked with telling people what happened in that most intimate, private space and bringing it out into the light.”  She has joined others in filing a federal Title XI lawsuit stating that the university applied pressure on them not to report attacks and that disciplinary hearings are conducted by untrained personnel. Sulkowicz met with two other women allegedly assaulted by the same attacker, who was found “not responsible.” Sulkowicz's protest is also her senior thesis, a performance art piece she calls “Mattress Performance” or “Carry That Weight.” She intends to continue until her alleged rapist is expelled. “I feel like I’ve carried the weight of what happened there everywhere since then,” she told the campus newspaper. Watch Emma Sulkowicz's interview with the Columbia Spectator:

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