A W∙O∙R∙D is dead when it is said, some say.

I say it just begins to live that day.


Vivian ∙ 20 ∙ MX

thepeoplesrecord:

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 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.”

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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. 

@dimepoesia en la Carpa de los Libros arranca! @iteso

@dimepoesia en la Carpa de los Libros arranca! @iteso

This? Is why I think it’s vital that we fight for diverse literature in schools. When the book-banning folks come out, it’s so often to shut down a person belonging to a minority group speaking about experiences that make people uncomfortable. Of course we are uncomfortable. We are complicit. It takes discomfort to impel change.

Not all kids will get a real picture of the world at home; I certainly didn’t. Those kids may go on to be the next generation of oppressors, having been taught lies that cause them to see minorities as subhuman, unless they have outside influences to show them otherwise. It matters that they read books by African-Americans, by women, by LGBT authors. It matters that they gain empathy and experience others’ lives.

It matters that they become uncomfortable enough to change.