Emma Sulkowicz is a senior at Columbia University. The first day of her sophomore year she was raped by a classmate in her own bed. For many victims of rape they have to carry the burden of that horrific incident for the rest of their life.
Sulkowicz is not only carrying the burden emotionally, but physically as well. She will continue to carry her dorm room mattress around until the man who she accused of raping her is no longer on campus.
She didn’t report the incident at first because she says she didn’t feel like dealing with the emotional trauma. She met two other women who told her that the man who assaulted her had assaulted them as well. At that point she decided to do something, and they all reported their cases. And all three cases were dismissed.
For the past two years, she has been haunted and traumatized over the fact that her attacker is still attending the same school as her. Until something is done about it she will carry her dorm room mattress everywhere.
Emily speaks on what is it is like to see her rapist on campus:
“Every day, I am afraid to leave my room. Even seeing people who look remotely like my rapist scares me. Last semester I was working in the dark room in the photography department. Though my rapist wasn’t in my class, he asked permission from his teacher to come and work in the dark room during my class time,” she recounts. “I started crying and hyperventilating. As long as he’s on campus with me, he can continue to harass me.”
One in four college women report surviving rape, or attempted rape.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence call the 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673