A Columbia University senior who says she was raped on campus by a fellow student has launched an unusual act of protest. Emma Sulkowicz has vowed to carry a dorm room mattress with her everywhere on campus until her rapist is expelled or leaves campus on his own. Sulkowicz says she was raped in her own dorm room in August 2012. That was only the beginning. After she reported her assault to Columbia, she appeared before a disciplinary panel, where she was forced to explain to a university official how the painful manner in which she had been raped was physically possible. Then the panel found her accused assailant not responsible. Two other students have accused the alleged perpetrator of sexual assaults, but he remains on campus. Sulkowicz joins us to tell her story.
Hundreds of students turned out for a rally at Columbia University in New York City on Friday bearing mattresses and chanting “carry that weight,” a reference to the emotional burden they say all survivors must shoulder each day. Some wore red tape over their mouths to symbolize the harms done by Columbia’s bureaucratic handling of sexual assault. Earlier this month, Columbia University senior Emma Sulkowicz announced she would carry a dorm room mattress with her everywhere on campus until her rapist is expelled or leaves campus on his own. We play excerpts from Friday’s rally and speak to Sulkowicz and fellow Columbia University senior Zoe Ridolfi-Starr. She was also sexually assaulted at Columbia in 2012. She is the lead complainant in a federal complaint against Columbia over its handling of sexual assault.
Calls are increasing for National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign over how the league has addressed domestic violence. So far this year, at least four players have been arrested for beating a spouse or partner, most notably Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. We are joined by Dewan Smith-Williams, the wife of former NFL player Wally Williams. When she asked the league for help, she was ignored and told to keep quiet. "It was just a code of silence — you didn’t tell, you didn’t talk about it," Smith-Williams says. "When you would talk about it, you always started to weigh just what’s happening to Janay Rice right now … It happened to many women — both physically and verbally — and it’s just what happens."