Here’s some news that’s sure to restore your faith in humanity.
Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student and rape survivor who vowed to carry a mattress around campus until her attacker was banned from school, has been receiving a lot of help from her classmates.
“Mattress Performance: Carry That Weight,” was created after the now-senior was raped in her dorm room the first night of her sophomore year at Columbia. Two other students said they were raped by the same student, but he was found not guilty and remains at the university.
Sulkowicz, a visual arts major who turned her senior thesis into the performance arts protest, spoke with Business Insider about the daunting project, how bad her neck and shoulders hurt, but how helpful students and professors have been.
The experience, though, has been amazing, she said. Sulkowicz has seen an incredible amount of support from her student peers — “Students come up to me on campus and introduce themselves,” she told us. “People are coming up me in the dining hall and asking to take pictures of it on their iPhones.”
On Wednesday, a group of students organized to help Sulkowicz carry her mattress across Columbia’s campus. While she is not allowed to ask for help to carry the mattress under the rules of her performance art piece, she can accept help if it’s offered, student newspaper The Columbia Daily Spectator reports.
As one student helper told The Spectator, “I think there’s been a general feeling from people among both schools that, there’s a great sense of support for Emma and other survivors and this would be great for people to get involved on a daily basis, and just show solidarity, and give Emma and other survivors support.”
Professors, as well, have been supportive, although Sulkowicz says she has made an effort not to disrupt her classes.
“I try to get to the classroom early, so I can sort of stick it on the side so it doesn’t disturb anyone … I don’t want to distract people from their classes,” Sulkowicz said.
Sadly, Sulkowicz, who previously said she decided to do the project to represent the weight she and others carry as rape victims and bring awareness to the university’s failure to tackle sexual assaults in a way that punishes the alleged rapists while eliminating victim shame, hasn’t had help from the people who can get her rapist off campus — the university.
“No one has reached out to me, and I’m waiting,” Sulkowicz said.