A rape victim [Didact: as the RoK article makes clear, this should really be printed as: "rape" victim] is carrying her dorm-room mattress with her everywhere she goes to protest the inaction by school administrators in bringing her attacker to justice.
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.
ES: My attacker was one of my closest friends at the time, and we’d had consensual sex twice in the past. [Didact: So she had sex with a guy who was previously in the Friendzone. And then she cries "rape"?] There was a party and we left together. I invited him to my room because we’d had sex before, and we were having consensual vaginal intercourse. Soon though, he hit me across the face and started choking me and pinned my arms behind my head and pushed my legs up against my chest. He began to anally penetrate me. It was really painful and I was saying no, I was telling him to stop but he didn’t. Then finally he did, he got off and laid down next to me for a second. I was just frozen solid. I was petrified. And then he ran out.
I spent months in denial. I wasn’t really ready to believe that I’d been raped because realizing that you’ve been raped is realizing that people can take control of you and objectify you. In that moment, I wasn’t a human to him. I was just a thing. And that’s pretty fucking scary. Once I finally did admit to myself that it had happened, I was really unhappy. And I think a lot of what I’ve been dealing with since then is trying to find ways to believe that I am human.