Beware- Sexual Assult

Annie Abreu, Reporter

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Sexual assault is a big problem in a city as large as New York. Emma Sulkowicz, a former Visual Arts major at Columbia University, is sadly a victim. Sulkowicz was allegedly raped in her own dorm room during the beginning of her sophomore year in 2012. The alleged assaulter denies the accusation.

Sulkowicz filed a complaint with the University in April 2013; in October the University found the alleged assaulter “not responsible.” In April 2014, Sulkowicz filed a complaint with the NYPD, and according to the accused student, the police interviewed him and shortly afterwards the District Attorney’s office told him they would not be pursuing the case.

Due to the results of her case, in the summer of 2014 for an art piece at Yale Norfolk Art Residency, Sulkowicz created what she calls Mattress Performance/Carry That Weight. For this project she carries the mattress from her dorm room all over campus.

It’s a heartwarming sight to see Sulkowicz’s classmates helping her carry the mattress all over campus. According to Sulkowicz’, “Most people help me, because they know why I’m carrying it. Students commonly asked, “Do you really plan to carry the mattress around until your school takes action?” To this Sulkowicz responded with “Yes. I plan on carrying it until I don’t go to school with my rapist anymore.”

Sulkowicz never got the justice she deserved while being a student at Columbia University, but she kept her word. Every single day that Sulkowicz walked through campus, she had her mattress with her. Every day, including her very own graduation, which took place on May 19th, 2015.

With the help of her classmates, Sulkowicz carried the mattress down the aisle. She did this despite an email the University had sent prior to the graduation. The email was written as follows: “Graduates should not bring into the ceremonial area large objects which could interfere with the proceedings or create discomfort to others in close, crowded spaces shared by thousands of people.” Sulkowicz was still allowed to walk down the aisle and even went up on stage to accept her diploma with the mattress, this action received a roaring applause from her classmates.

This is just one of the many sexual assault cases where the victim is never shown justice. Rape is a serious issue that sadly isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. Statistics show that 68% of sexual assault victims will not report it to the police, and it’s because cases like Sulkowicz that are left alone and not further investigated.

Statistics also show that 44% of victims are under 18 years of age, and 80% are under 30 years of age. The numbers will just keep going up if rapists aren’t put away when they should be. Victims will never be at peace if their rapists roam free. It can happen at any time, which is why everyone must be extra careful when going out this summer.

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