Pretty Little Liar or Taking A Stand?

You may  not recognize the name Emma Sulkowicz but you probably have heard of the Columbia University student who’s been carrying a mattress around with her on campus for several months now.  Not only is it part of her art thesis, it’s part of her very public protest against rape.  She’s very involved in bringing awareness to rape on campus, claiming that she was raped by someone she knew on campus.

The incident of rape allegedly occurred in August 2012 but a complaint wasn’t filed with Columbia University until April 2013, and a complaint wasn’t filed with the police until May 2014.  The reason Emma Sulkowicz gave for this was shame and embarrassment, and indeed, those are legitimate reasons many rape victims give for not reporting sexual assaults and rape to the authorities.

In keeping with the standard of proof as set out by the Department of Justice and the Office for Civil Rights, Columbia University determined, based on evidence presented, that Emma Sulkowicz’s complaint did not meet the bar that the assault was “more likely to have occurred than to not have occurred” and they did not find in Emma Sulkowicz’s favor.  Displeased with the decision, Emma Sulkowicz waited another year before filing a complaint with the police department.

The police department investigated the matter and interviewed the accused, however, it was decided that the case would not be pursued past the interviews with both the accused and the accuser.

Emma Sulkowicz has won awards from the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority Foundation as well as attended the State of the Union address earlier this year as a guest of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

The accused, Paul Nungesser has seen his photo and likeness plastered in poster form in many public locations and published in newspapers and blogs as well as on social media, oftentimes with a warning attached.  His accuser was allowed to exhibit photos of the accused publicly on campus without repercussion, claiming freedom of speech.

The victim, Emma Sulkowicz, has only recently seen her photo and likeness plastered in poster form in many public locations, which her supporters quickly and efficiently removed, disregarding the freedom of speech of the person or persons who are responsible for the posters.

Paul Nungesser shared with interested media copies of Facebook messages between himself and Emma Sulkowicz in the weeks preceding and following the alleged rape.  When contacted, Emma Sulkowicz admitted that the Facebook comments were accurate and correct.  The Daily Beast, however, reported an odd reaction from Emma Sulkowicz.

Facebook Messages_IMAGE 1
By October 2012, Emma Sulkowicz was involved in a romantic relationship, and the two former friends saw some distance between them while still remaining friends.

And there’s the matter of proof that Paul Nungesser would have had to provide to his legal counsel to enable said legal counsel to draft and file a formal lawsuit against Columbia University, the Trustees of Columbia University, Lee C. Bollinger, and Jon Kessler on April 23, 2015.

As for the alleged snub from Columbia University president, Lee C. Bollinger, a spokesperson for Columbia University stated that video shows that the mattress was between Ms. Sulkowicz and Mr. Bollinger.  While it’s true that Columbia University officials had asked Emma Sulkowicz to leave her mattress behind and to walk across the stage as other graduates would be doing, Emma Sulkowicz and four of her friends chose to disregard the request.

The interesting thing about the mattress is that Emma Sulkowicz, an art major at Columbia University, has stated that the mattress is an art piece that’s a central part of her “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight)” performance art and senior thesis for the visual arts department, and is  “an artistic expression of the personal trauma I’ve experienced at Columbia.”   In an interview in January, with regards to the mattress, she stated she was “going to be carrying [the mattress] again today for the first time in a few weeks.”

So what does all this mean?  It means that one of them — either Emma or Paul — is destroying the other’s life.  It means that someone — either Emma or Paul — is seeing their life destroyed.  It means that others in this world will suffer should the liar gets away with a crime, and gets away with destroying someone else’s life.  And why would that be?  Because opportunists have a way of seeing what other opportunists have done successfully, and adding those manipulative tools to their own arsenal of destructive behaviors.

Elyse Bruce

RECOMMENDED READING

How Could This Have Gone On For So Long?
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/how-could-this-have-gone-on-for-so-long/

How Victims Are Treated
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/how-victims-are-treated-a-true-story/

Q’s Kettle Of Fish
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/qs-kettle-of-fish/

Some Answer To The Question Why No Charges Were Ever Filed
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/some-answers-to-the-question-why-no-charges-were-ever-filed/

SUGGESTED READING

Accused Of Rape, A Student Sues Columbia Over Bias
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/nyregion/accused-of-rape-a-student-sues-columbia-over-bias.html

Accused Rapist’s Parents Criticize Columbia For Allowing Mattress At Graduation
http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/05/accused-columbia-rapist-parents-release-statement-sulkowicz.html

Accusers And The Accused, Crossing Paths At Columbia University
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/22/nyregion/accusers-and-the-accused-crossing-paths-at-columbia.html

Alleged Columbia Rapist ‘Dismayed And Disappointed’ By Accuser’s SOTU Invitation
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/alleged-columbia-rapist-dismayed-by-sotu-honor.html

Columbia President Refuses to Shake Emma Sulkowicz’s Hand At Graduation
http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/05/columbia-president-ignores-emma-sulkowicz.html

Columbia Student: I Didn’t Rape Her
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/03/columbia-student-i-didn-t-rape-her.html

Emma Sulkowicz Was ‘Let Down’ By Obama SOTU Speech
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/sulkowicz-was-let-down-by-state-of-the-union.html

Frustrated By Columbia’s Inaction, Student Reports Sexual Assault To Police
http://columbiaspectator.com/news/2014/05/16/frustrated-columbias-inaction-student-reports-sexual-assault-police

It’s Hard To Ignore A Woman Toting A Mattress Everywhere She Goes
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/10/29/its-hard-to-ignore-a-woman-toting-a-mattress-everywhere-she-goes-which-is-why-emma-sulkowicz-is-still-doing-it/

Mattress Protest At Columbia University Continues Into Graduation Event
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/20/nyregion/mattress-protest-at-columbia-university-continues-into-graduation-event.html

Posters Around Columbia Campus Call Emma Sulkowicz A ‘Pretty Little Liar’
http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/05/posters-around-columbia-emma-sulkowicz-lied.html

Why We Published The Name Of An Alleged Rapist
http://columbiaspectator.com/2014/05/16/why-we-published-name-alleged-rapist

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: