Columbia student will carry her mattress until her rapist exits school
September 2, 2014
While most students at Columbia University will spend the first day of classes carrying backpacks and books, Emma Sulkowicz will start her semester on Tuesday with a far heavier burden. The senior plans on carrying an extra-long, twin-size mattress across the quad and through each New York City building – to every class, every day – until the man she says raped her moves off campus.
“I was raped in my own bed,” Sulkowicz told me the other day, as she was gearing up to head back to school in this, the year American colleges are finally, supposedly, ready to do something about sexual assault. “I could have taken my pillow, but I want people to see how it weighs down a person to be ignored by the school administration and harassed by police.”
Sulkowicz is one of three women who made complaints to Columbia against the same fellow senior, who was found “not responsible” in all three cases. She also filed a police report, but Sulkowicz was treated abysmally – by the cops, and by a Columbia disciplinary panel so uneducated about the scourge of campus violence that one panelist asked how it was possible to be anally raped without lubrication.
So Sulkowicz joined a federal complaint in April over Columbia’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases, and she will will hoist that mattress on her shoulders as part savvy activism, part performance art. “The administration can end the piece, by expelling him,” she says, “or he can, by leaving campus.”
As painful as I know the constant reminder of attending school with her rapist must be, I’m glad she won’t be the only one forced to remember. I hope the rapist drops out immediately…or better yet, I hope he faces the justice he deserves.
So much respect for her. I hope he gets what he fucking deserves.
During the scene when Mulan decides to go to war instead of her father, she decides to do it while sitting on the foot of the Great Stone Dragon. The image of the dragon looking over Mulan is repeated several times throughout the sequence, and the bolts of lightning strike at significant times whenever the dragon is in sight. When Mulan takes her father’s scroll and when she is praying to her ancestors, the Great Stone Dragon can be seen. It is also engraved on the sword Mulan uses to cut her hair and the handles of the wardrobe containing the armor are in the shape of the dragon’s head. The dragon’s eyes glowing in the temple symbolizes Mulan’s role as protector of her family awakening, instead of the actual dragon.
The reason Mushu couldn’t wake the dragon is because the dragon was no longer there. Mulan is implied to be the Great Dragon that protects her family.
I get very defensive of film as an art form, and animation especially, because of stuff like this. People sometimes place it lower on the scale of narrative, or say it isn’t as powerful as the written word, but there are things like this; things you can only imply through the visual language that’s exclusive to film. It’s communicating an idea in a way that you might not even realize, but you feel it. It’s a whole different way of storytelling.