Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University senior, says a classmate raped her in her dorm room at the beginning of her sophomore year. Though she and two other students reported that the same student assaulted them, all of their claims were swept under the rug, and the male student was allowed to continue taking classes.
In a performance-style protest called “Mattress Performance” or “Carry That Weight,” Sulkowicz vows to carry her mattress around campus every day until her alleged rapist is expelled.
“Rape can happen anywhere. For me I was raped in my own dorm bed, and since then that space has become fraught for me,” she said in a video about the project. “And I feel like I’ve carried the weight of what happened there with me everywhere since then.”