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.
Mark Ciavarella Jr, a 61-year old former judge in Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for literally selling young juveniles for cash. He was convicted of accepting money in exchange for incarcerating thousands of adults and children into a prison facility owned by a developer who was paying him under the table. The kickbacks amounted to more than $1 million.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned some 4,000 convictions issued by him between 2003 and 2008, claiming he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles – including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Some of the juveniles he sentenced were as young as 10-years old.
Ciavarella was convicted of 12 counts, including racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and tax evasion. He was also ordered to repay $1.2 million in restitution.
His “kids for cash” program has revealed that corruption is indeed within the prison system, mostly driven by the growth in private prisons seeking profits by any means necessary.
Why might this not be a HUGE national story and his name not household? I’ll give you one guess what color those kids were.
I don’t know if this product is Good or Bad and I have no interest in throwing it into either bucket. But I wanted to express how hopeless and alone I feel when this seems like all we’ve got. Not just the nail polish, but the underwear and the iPhone apps and the electric shock jackets and everything else that files under Things Potential Victims Should Do.
I’m tired. I’m so tired. I’m tired of the contingency plans and the self-blame and the jackets when it’s too hot for jackets. I’m tired of knowing who I’ll call if/when I get raped and how I’ll explain whatever injuries I have to people that I can’t tell the truth because they’ll immediately start the interrogation of Where Was I Why Did I Go There Why Did I Go Alone Why Didn’t I Call Someone Why Did I Wear That Why Didn’t I Run. I have thought about different types of injuries that may result and what types of accidents could potentially explain such injuries.
Because, in all likelihood, if/when that moment comes, my phone and pepper spray will be out of reach, there won’t be any drugged drinks to worry about, and nobody will hear a whistle or a scream. Because that’s what happens when you treat sexual assault like a fucking game of Whac-a-Mole. How many specific devices will we invent for a multitude of specific situations where they may or may not come in useful before we finally decide to scrap it and try to tackle the problem all the way down to its roots?
I demand better than drug-detecting nail polish. We deserve better than that.
Chief Russell Mills to the LA Times after shooting and killing black 89-year-old great grandfather Shawn Monroe at a barbecue unprovoked. Today, he walks free with no charges, despite numerous witnesses and his own admission that he enjoys terrorizing black people.
Tell me again why Black people should be okay with police when they have, since the history of our being kidnapped to this fucking country, have not EVER been about protecting us, but about terrorizing us?
Police are NOT for Black people’s safety. They are about torturing us, terrorizing us and killing us. Period. There is no safety with police. There is no peace keeping with police. They have ALWAYS been a terror to the Black community and I am tired of this fact being pushed to the wayside.
And Ray Kelly, when he was Commissioner in NYC said the same thing.
This is a ROUTINE assertion that the point of the police is to be an agent of state terror. And that such terror should be all but exclusively focused on Black and Brown bodies.
"The ghost of bull conner" ~ MHP
This statement doesn’t surprise me, but please note how boldly and comfortably he came out of his face to say this.
Singer CeeLo Green took to Twitter today to make an attempt to define what rape is, shortly after pleading no contest for charges that he slipped a woman ecstasy without her consent in 2012
My n****.. Not you too.. Smh..
SMH dude essentially told on himself.
Holy shit. Fuck you CeeLo
yeah… all of the above comments.
Police arrest young black politician for distributing voting rights leaflets.
I do, actually! From a philosophical, psychological, or sociological perspective (and sometimes a mix of them), generally. Most of them are specific to racism (and many of those, to Black people), though I do have some more generalized recommendations. Some of these attack the issue head-on, while others are more tangentially related. I’ve quoted a lot of these on my blog and have noted it when I remembered to do so (but I tag most of my posts, so you could look for others in my tags).
- People of Color and Mental Health Post - I last updated it in May of 2012, so some of the sources are no longer available
- The Many Costs of Racism by Joe Feagin and Karyn D. McKinney (I have some quotes I posted here) - it focuses on the effects of racism on Black Americans
- Frantz Fanon and the Psychology of Oppression by Hussein Abdilahi Bulhan - it’s really expensive but an interesting read if you can find it at a library - and I of course recommend Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks to anyone
- Same with Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
- Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias and the Myth of a Postracial America by Kimberly Jade Norwood, a collection of essays on colorism
- Lewis R. Gordon’s Existentia Africana: Understanding Africana Existential Thought (focus on Black people)
- Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race by Charles W. Mills in which Mills excoriates the field of philosophy for its purported race neutrality and discusses a form of alienation that differs from a Marxian alienation (this is also done in Yancy’s Black Bodies, White Gazes) and is closer to that conceptualized by Fanon
- Black Bodies, White Gazes by George Yancy (focus on Black people)
- A book of essays edited by George Yancy, What White Looks Like
- Everything but the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture edited by Greg Tate, particularly for the intro and Carl Hancock Rux’s “Eminem: the New White Negro” (quoted here)
- Shiftling: The Double Lives of Black Women in America by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden (quoted here)
- Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Sexual Politics
More general or not just racism:
- Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination edited by Todd D. Nelson - it’s a massive book with over 500 pages and a psychology focus, and is very expensive as a result, but with this book again there is the library, and there is the option of renting (or seeking it out elsewhere, hint hint)
- Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us And What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele - on stereotype threat
- The Post-Colonial Studies Reader edited by Bill Ashcroft (also available in an older edition for cheap)
- Pierre Bourdieu’s Masculine Domination and Pascalian Meditations
- Erving Goffman’s Stigma
- Kathi Weeks’s The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries
- Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism - a collection of essays edited by Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman - which I have quotes from here
- Pornography Embodied: From Speech to Sexual Practice by Joan Mason-Grant
- Andrea Dworkin’s Intercourse, which, while I am aware of its inherent cissexism and criticisms of Dworkin, I must recommend for its discussion of the subordination of women
- Derald Wing Sue’s Microaggressions and Marginality: Manifestation, Dynamics, and Impact andhis Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation - which I have quotes of here and here, respectively
- Internalized Oppression: The Psychology of Marginalized Groups edited by E.J.R. David - it does have a focus on racism (6/10 chapters) and ethnic groups in the US, but it’s different than my other recommendations in that it looks at Indigenous, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Latin@ people as well- the chapters are:
my friend John just wrote the best post about catcalling possibly ever.
Y’all believe it now?
You’re fucking kidding me right?
People are suffering to Ebola and America had a way to potentially cure it
AND THEY REFUSE A FUCKING REQUEST?
Does saving lives not mean anything to anyone anymore?
I fucking cant
Who’s really surprised? AMERICA isn’t shit & never will be.
They said it costing too much was part of the issue but I haven’t seen the government have any issue with the billions of dollars they constantly give Israel to do any mother fucking thing they please.
Seriously?! the US ain’t shit
Didn’t they give it to a Spanish patient today
It’s fucking true. They said no to Nigeria. But then ship it right the fuck out to Spain for one patient.
It is so hard to love a country that does not value you/people who look like you.
Told y’all this was going to happen. Just like what they did with the HIV/AIDS drug treatments.
Interviewer: But the question is more, how do you get there? Do you get there by confrontation, violence?
Davis: Oh, is that the question you were asking? Yeah see, that’s another thing. When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence, without realizing that the real content of any revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and the goals that you’re striving for, not in the way you reach them. On the other hand, because of the way this society’s organized, because of the violence that exists on the surface everywhere, you have to expect that there are going to be such explosions. You have to expect things like that as reactions. If you are a black person and live in the black community all your life and walk out on the street everyday seeing white policemen surrounding you… when I was living in Los Angeles, for instance, long before the situation in L.A ever occurred, I was constantly stopped. No, the police didn’t know who I was. But I was a black women and I had a natural and they, I suppose thought I might be “militant.”
And when you live under a situation like that constantly, and then you ask me, you know, whether I approve of violence. I mean, that just doesn’t make any sense at all. Whether I approve of guns.
I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Some very, very good friends of mine were killed by bombs, bombs that were planted by racists. I remember, from the time I was very small, I remember the sounds of bombs exploding across the street. Our house shaking. I remember my father having to have guns at his disposal at all times, because of the fact that, at any moment, we might expect to be attacked. The man who was, at that time, in complete control of the city government, his name was Bull Connor, would often get on the radio and make statements like, “Niggers have moved into a white neighborhood. We better expect some bloodshed tonight.” And sure enough, there would be bloodshed. After the four young girls who lived, one of them lived next door to me…I was very good friends with the sister of another one. My sister was very good friends with all three of them. My mother taught one of them in her class. My mother—in fact, when the bombing occurred, one of the mothers of one of the young girls called my mother and said, “Can you take me down to the church to pick up Carol? We heard about the bombing and I don’t have my car.” And they went down and what did they find? They found limbs and heads strewn all over the place. And then, after that, in my neighborhood, all the men organized themselves into an armed patrol. They had to take their guns and patrol our community every night because they did not want that to happen again.