Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Video : Rape Victim Carries Mattress With Her Everywhere She Goes To Protest The Inaction Of Her University To Bring Her Attacker To Justice

Weighed down: Sulkhowitz will continues to carry the mattress until her rapist is no longer on campus. She says this might take only one day or last the rest of the year 

To protest the inaction of her University administrations to bring her attacker to justice, a rape victim has is carrying her mattress with her everywhere she goes. Columbia University senior Emma Sulkhowitz is carrying the mattress as part of her senior thesis art project, and will only stop once when her rapist is no longer enrolled in school.

Sulkhowitz points out that the project - which she is calling 'Mattress Performance' or 'Carry That Weight' - could last as little as one day, or continue until she graduates this spring.

The mattress represents her specific rape, since she was attacked in her dorm room. The weight of carrying it around also visualizes how she continues to be haunted by the experience. 

'A mattress is the perfect size for me to just be able to carry it enough that I could continue with my day but also heavy enough that I have to continually struggle with it,' she told the Columbia Daily Spectator.

Sulkhowitz plans to spread information about the project via word of mouth, and says one of the rules is that she can't ask for help with carrying the mattress.

However, anyone can ask to help her and she thinks this will be one way of spreading the project to her college community. 

Last May, Sulkhowitz reported the scarring experiencing to police, a year and a half after the incident happened.

She says the incident was so damaging, she initially decided not to go to authorities because she was afraid and ashamed of what had happened.

'When it first happened, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t even tell my parents. ... I didn’t even want to talk to my best friend,' she said.

The student newspaper has identified the student accused of the rape, but since no charges have been filed, MailOnline is not naming the man.

However, he is one of a handful of students who have been accused of sexually assaulting multiple classmates on campus, in lists graffitied on bathroom stalls and distributed in pamphlets.

Sulkhowitz recounted the incident to the student newspaper, saying it came as a surprise since she had consensual sex with the attacker twice before.

On August 27, 2012, the two were hanging out in her dorm room when things took a violent turn.

According to the police report, Sulkhowitz said her attacker suddenly hit her across the face then 'choked her, and pushed her knees onto her chest and leaned on her knees to keep them up.' He went on to grab her 'wrists and penetrated her anally'.

Sulkhowitz told her attacker to stop, but he continued raping her until he 'suddenly stopped without ejaculating'

While she didn't report the incident to police at first, she and two other victims of the same man reported him to school officials the following spring.

Administrators held a hearing on the matter but eventually found the student in question 'not responsible'.

Reporting the rape to police was just as terrible an experience for Sulkhowitz as well.

Officers showed up to take her statement at her dorm room on May 14, and she says they were dismissive and questioning of her account - especially the fact that she had slept with her attacker before and couldn't recall minute details of the incident. 

She was then asked to go to the police station and fill out more paperwork, with one document describing the attack as 'domestic violence' even though she was never in a relationship with her rapist.

While she was speaking with the Special Victims Unit, the officer who took her statement continued to talk with her friends at the station, saying he didn't buy her story. 

Police have passed the case along to the District Attorney, and while Sulkhowitz believes it may be too late to bring up charges against her attacker, she still hopes for justice. 

No comments:

Post a Comment