All Articles Tagged "rape"
Some of us understand the prevalence of rape. Some of us even know how such heinous, inhumane acts affect the psyche. And even though some of us have grasped these concepts, we were still astounded to learn of Jada. The Houston teenager was not only drugged and raped by two different men, images of her naked body sprawled across the floor were posted all over social media. They even created a hashtag, #jadapose. And as if this weren’t enough, people were using Twitter and other social media websites to shame Jada, blaming her for her own rape.
This story could have ended tragically. But luckily, instead of keeping it to herself or being to ashamed to speak up, Jada fought for herself. And thousands across the country, including celebrities, fought with her, creating the #IAmJada hashtag.
Thankfully, today, five months after the incident occurred, MSNBC reported that two people have been arrested in Jada’s rape. One of them a grown man and another, a minor.
This is what Jada had to say about the arrests, support from her followers and what a family spokesperson had to say about legislation and cyberbullying.
“It’s wonderful about the arrests. But I’m just grateful and thankful for everyone who followed and supported me.”
“I would like to see justice. Justice in full effect and that’s it.”
Quanell X, a local leader of the New Black Panther Party and the family’s spokesperson said that he was surprised it took authorities so long to make an arrest when both accused rapists confessed and were even bragging about the incident on social media. There was also evidence that showed Jada wasn’t the only girl they did this to. But at one point another investigator took over the case.The adult man was charged with two counts of child sex assault.
Jezebel exposed Quanell X’s interesting backstory. In 2011, 13 African American men were accused of gang raping an 11-year-old Hispanic girl. X held a rally that seemed to play on the tension between the Black and Latino community, asking the group where was the girl’s mother, father and even asking why an 11-year-old child, who had been assaulted by these two men before on a separate occasion, didn’t report her rape to the police. Quite sick and in direct contention with the story he’s supporting today.
Commenters on Jezebel have argued that Quanell follows the cameras. But perhaps there’s more to it. Maybe X felt justified in blaming a Hispanic girl if it would protect the images of these Black men, though some of them admitted their guilt as well. The point is a child should never be blamed for something like this–nor should she be further shamed with questions about why she didn’t report it.
Perhaps he’s had a change of heart on rape victims and his former rape apologists views. But either way, severe side eye to Quanell…
As far as this case goes though, X hopes the social media attention Jada’s story has raised will help legislatures make some type of move against cyberbullying.
“I believe that we’re attempting to work with state legislatures right here in Texas to make cyber bullying a crime. Because you have so many people out there who are victims of sexual assault but they don’t want to be bullied through social media, so they tend to keep their stories to themselves and never come forth. We don’t want to allow social media, which has been a gift and a curse in many cases, to stop victims from speaking up about being a victim of a sexual assault or a crime.”
Jada says her life is not the same anymore but it’s also not the worst. She also said that while she hasn’t gotten much support from the teenagers in her community, the adults and people she doesn’t know have been very supportive.
Ronan Farrow asked Jada before she left what advice she would give to others who find themselves in a similar situation.
My advice to you guys is just to pray and speak out and just tell nothing but the truth.
Is she glad she spoke out?
Yes, I am glad because I needed my story to be heard.
What have you learned from all of this?
“I learned that some people have hearts and some people just go off of what they hear.”
What do you want to do in the future?
“I would like to keep working on this with others, other people who are going through this in the near future. But I would like to go to college and then become a pharmacist.”
Again, we commend and even thank Jada for stepping forward after an unimaginable ordeal and using her trauma to help others. We wish her nothing but the best.
Earlier this month, we reported about Lincoln University President Robert R. Jennings and his disparaging comments to the female students on campus.
His comments were so foul and brought so much negative attention to the university that Jennings was forced to resign.
In case you don’t remember or didn’t initially hear or see what he said, the gist of it is he told an assembly full of women not to put themselves in situations where they could be raped. He encouraged the female students not to report their rapes, if they did indeed occur because they could ruin someone else’s life. And then he went so far as to say that the three women who did report their rapes last semester were lying, that they wanted relationships with the men who raped them and when it “didn’t turn out the way they wanted,” they cried rape.
I wish this weren’t true.
His remarks were widely reported after they were recorded and posted on YouTube. And naturally, subsequently shunned. Several individuals, media outlets and even parents of current students criticized the comments as appearing to blame women for sexual assault.
Jennings attempted to apologize for his remarks, saying that he would never discourage women from reporting rape or sexual assault.
But the damage had already been done.
According to theGrio, Lincoln University accepted Jennings’ resignation Monday morning and named the school’s general counsel Valerie Harrison as acting president while they search for a permanent 14th president for the University.
Just Like She Said: Janice Dickinson Releases Pictures Of Bill Cosby In That Patchwork Robe+ New Victim Steps Forward
Earlier this week, we told you about Janice Dickinson stepping forward once again with her allegations that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her in Lake Tahoe back in 1982. And in detailing the story, she recalled that right before she remembers passing out, she watched as Bill Cosby untied the belt of his patchwork robe.
Well, Janice recently sent polaroid pictures from that night to TMZ. And like she says, Cosby is sitting there, in a patchwork robe, talking to someone on the phone.
Judging by the amount of skin you see on his chest and his legs, under the table, I doubt he has a whole lot of clothes on underneath.
Janice told TMZ she took these Polaroids in the hotel room after she took the pill but before she actually blacked out.
Dickinson says she woke up the next morning with semen in between her legs.
The pictures certainly don’t corroborate, without a doubt, Janice’s story of sexual assault. But I certainly find it jarring to see these images after listening to her story.
Several will reference Dickinson’s sexual past, to which she’s admitted, as a reason not to believe her. But perhaps, she took the picture before the assault because she could feel herself slipping away.
Unless that picture reveals something we can’t readily see, we’ll probably never know what happened.
Whatever did happen that night, we can all agree that Cosby, with his wedding ring on his finger, and in this state of undress, shouldn’t have been there.
What do you make of the pictures?
And in other Bill Cosby sexual assault news, poet Nikki Giovanni, seven years ago, spoke openly about Bill Cosby’s penchant for pulling his pants down.
Then, as if all of this weren’t enough, another victim has come forward. 52-year-old Angela Leslie, a former model and actress, spoke the the New York Daily News about her Bill Cosby sexual assault story. And shockingly, her story is much like Barbara Bowman.
Cosby, under the guise of advancing her career, invited her to meet with him. And like Bowman, he told her to pretend like she was drunk and gave her a dark drink to aide her in the exercise. But Leslie said she only pretended to drink it because it was too strong for her.
Afterward, Cosby instructed her to wet her hair. She did so and when she came back into the room, Cosby was in bed.
“He had taken his clothes off. He summoned me over to the bed and I walked over. He proceeded to get some Vaseline lotion and he put my hand on his penis and did the masturbation movements with his hands on mine.”
Leslie said she stood there frozen but then start pulling away from him.
“I felt pretty dirty and disgusted. I really wanted to act and be a dancer in the entertainment industry. After I didn’t go along with what he did, he sort of dismissed me from his room. He didn’t speak to me the next day. I really feel he took away my ability to do what I’ve dreamed of all these years. I was on my way. I did several movies. After I met Cosby, nothing. I feel he should not clip the wings of people with dreams and desires to be in the industry just because he’s in a high position. He should use it to help, if possible. I feel I was hindered by him because I just didn’t go along with what his usual scheme and plan was for women.”
Leslie believes had she drank the whole drink, she would have been raped. She makes the 8th victim to come forward with these allegations.
“I’m coming forward now because I’ve been watching the news and seeing these ladies come forward. Cosby’s not saying anything. He’s not apologizing. He’s pretending that it didn’t happen and it happened. It happened with me. He got my hand, he put it on his penis. It’s something I did not got there for. I did not initiate that kind of action. I want people to know that he’s not the person America thinks that he is.”
If you’ve read Janice Dickinson’s autobiography, you may already know that she’s spoken about Bill Cosby sexually assaulting her.
And now that the allegations have resurfaced, and more and more women are coming forward, with similar stories, Janice Dickinson sat down with Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier to explain what happened to her back in 1982 with Dr. Cosby.
“In 1982, I was on a job in Bali, in Indonesia. And he called. And the conversation, to the best of my recollection, ‘You need to get to Lake Tahoe because I’ll be performing there and I want to offer you that job we talked about. As well as helping you with a singing career I hear you’re trying to do.’
When I arrived at Lake Tahoe, Bill was performing at the venue and then after dinner, in my room he’d given me wine and a pill. The next morning I woke up and I wasn’t wearing my pajamas. And I remember before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted by this man.
Before I woke up in the morning, the last thing I remember was Bill Cosby…uh…in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me.”
Then Janice explains why she’s coming forward, again, to tell this story.
“I’ll tell you why. I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do. It happened to me and this is the true story.”
Good for Janice having the courage to relive what must have been a very traumatic moment in her life. As sad of a commentary as this is, people don’t often believe certain issues are indeed problematic or that people have pure motives for coming forward, until there’s a celebrity’s face attached to it.
You can watch the full piece of her interview in the video below.
For those still wondering if there is such a thing as rape culture? The short answer is: absolutely.
While the long answer comes courtesy of CNN.com. In particular this article about five New Orleans Police Department Special Victim Unit detectives, who may have failed to investigate a combined 1,111 sex crimes over a three-year period.
According to CNN, the revelations are from a recent study entitled Documentation of Sex Crime Investigations by Five Detectives in the Special Victims Section of the New Orleans Police Department, which was conducted by the New Orleans Office of Inspector General. You can read the report in its entirety here.
However in the executive summary, N.O Inspector General E. R. Quatrevaux writes that the office conducted the investigation after reviewing information gathered by the Audit Division of this Office for its Audit of NOPD’s Uniform Crime Reporting of Forcible Rapes and discovering that 23 out of the 90 sex crime related reports audited, “raised concerns about the documentation of the investigations.”
At the time of the investigation, there were only nine detectives working the special victim unit, which is mostly responsible for sex crimes. However, in the Inspector General’s report, the five detectives being audited only conducted thorough investigations (including supplemental investigations) on a total of 179 instances (or 13 percent) of the 1,290 sex crime-related calls assigned to them. The rest of were mainly “short and vague” incident reports.
The CNN article highlights one particularly heinous case involving a toddler:
“According to the seven-page document released Wednesday by the city’s Office of Inspector General, a 2-year-old was brought to a hospital emergency room after an alleged sexual assault. Tests would show the toddler had a sexually transmitted disease, the report said.
The detective in the case wrote in his report that the 2-year-old “did not disclose any information that would warrant a criminal investigation and closed the case,” the inspector general’s report said.
The Inspector General’s reports cites the lack of supervisor as a major cause for the detectives’ negligence. According to CNN, most of the incidents in question occurred under the reign of previous police chief Ronal Serpas. However Cmdr. Michael Harrison, interim N.O police chief, calls the findings of the report “a disappointment” and reflective of the need for “ more work to do within the department than he originally thought.” CNN also reports that the officers in question have been transferred the five detectives to “patrol-related duties.” And the department has instituted policies to ensure cases are being thoroughly investigated.
Outside of the failure to follow up on sex crime allegations, a couple of the officers in question failed, on several occasions, to follow up on medical reporting including rape kits within some of these cases, which could have led to suspect matches in the cases. And as CNN reports:
“A review of the DNA Laboratory’s records shows that as of October 13, 2014, the NOPD has failed to respond to 53 state lab requests for “reference samples” to confirm that DNA obtained in an investigation matches DNA in an FBI database, the report said. The requests date back to July 2010.”
The lack of followup on physical and other medical evidence is particularly frightening and also corresponds with another national problem related to untested rape kits. According to the website EndTheBacklog.com, while there is no comprehensive national registry on hand with actual numbers, experts estimate that there are an upwards of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits (the site also offers a map to show just how pervasive the problem is and what legislation is on the books or has been introduced to combat it).
The issue of untested rape kits was one, which I had also profiled in a piece from last year about Wayne County D.A Kim Worthy’s attempt to get 11,000 untested rape kits in the Detroit area tested. Thankfully, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced earlier this week his office’s intentions of issuing up to $35 million in grant money to help prosecutors around the country test the tens of thousands of rape kits currently collecting dust on police evidence shelves.
Great news, but what good is it going to do if we can’t even get officers in charge of handling the evidence to take it seriously?
Most times, when there’s a discussion about rape or sexual assault against women, we hear the same words we’ve heard since we first started leaving the house without our parents. “Don’t put yourself in a harmful or dangerous situation.” “Don’t leave your drink unattended.” “Don’t wear revealing clothing.” “Don’t walk alone.”
We’ve heard these warnings. We’ve been trained, coached and tested on what to do in a potentially dangerous situation, i.e. being in a place where men are present.
It’s nothing new. But since many women know these tips and tricks and are still being raped and assaulted at alarming rates, we’ve been wondering when are people going to start addressing the men who either perpetuate this violence or stand idly by while it happens?
Apparently, now is the time.
In an effort to address rape and sexual assault on college campuses, The White House launched a national campaign in September called “It’s On Us” that explicitly challenges men to not only examine their thoughts on sexual assault but also intervene when consent is not given and create environments where sexual assault is not tolerated or excused.
In promotion of this campaign, top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett spoke to Buzz Feed about the reasons the campaign is specifically targeting men.
“Bystander involvement can be very important, and oftentimes men underestimate other men’s attitudes toward violence. They don’t understand that other men are opposed to violence too,” Jarrett said. “So if they get the sense that it’s OK [to intervene] because everyone else around the room feels the same way you do, so the first person who gets up will inspire the next person to get up, and the next person and a next person. Because everyone is uncomfortable with it, but as a general rule men don’t know that.”
In a new PSA, released by the White House, a man looks on, from the couch, as a woman, seemingly inebriated, is cornered by a man who is trying to prevent her from leaving a party.
Kyle Lierman, a member of Jarrett’s staff said, “Most young men can relate to the guy that’s sitting on that couch. You have to show them how they can be a part of the solution.”
When the White House created a sexual assault task force, they found that activists thought the White House enforcement mechanisms were vague. And so they went back to the drawing board, to fine tune things.
Jarrett said, “It’s a whole new paradigm, because what we’re saying is that everyone has a role to play, and the responsibility should not simply be shouldered by the woman,” Jarrett said. “Historically, you’ve heard people say to women, ‘Well, take self-defense classes,’ and, ‘Don’t put yourself in a situation where harm could come to you.’ “We think by making this a responsibility of the entire community, it would take a little of that responsibility off of the woman and it would ensure a change in culture,” she said. “There are limits to what you can do with rules and regulations and laws. The only way you’re really going to change behavior is to change a culture of what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not acceptable.”
Thankfully, women and political entities aren’t the only ones talking about the issue of rape and assault. Jarrett says it’s become a national discussion.
“It’s becoming a part of the conversation that everyone is having,” she said. “I have several friends who have either juniors or seniors in high school. Every parent is asking the question, ‘What is the attitude of the college or university you’re considering toward sexual assault?’ When my daughter went to college 10 years ago, it never occurred to me to ask that question.”
Take a look at the most recent PSA in the video below.
Lincoln University Pres. Discourages Female Students From Reporting Rape, Says Last 3 Women That Did Were Lying
Y’all misogyny is so real. This we know. But the ways and places in which it manifests itself never ceases to amaze me.
Today, the shining example of ridiculous thinking comes from Lincoln University President Robert R. Jennings. For those who aren’t familiar, Lincoln is the historically Black university in Oxford, Pennsylvania.
During a speech he delivered in September at an All Women’s Convocation, Jennings made all types of remarks about how women set the tone for how a man will treat them and explained how men will use women up if they allow it.
But the blow came when he essentially accused women, specifically three women last semester, for falsely filing rape charges against their fellow male students.
Take a look at some of the excerpts below.
“Now, let me let you in on a little secret. Men treat you, treat women they way women allow us to treat them. And let me let you in on another little secret, we will use you up if you allow us to use you up. “
“But guess what? When it comes time for us to make that final decision, we’re going to go down the hall and marry that girl with the long dress on. That’s the one we’re going to take home to momma. Because there’s something about the way you carry yourself and respect yourself that commands and demands respect from us.”
But he didn’t stop there. Jennings, seemingly a bit overwhelmed by the three cases of rape reported last semester, let the women know how they could avoid it.
“We’ll give you our rap, it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever heard. And come the next day we’ll act like we don’t even know you. Am I right about it? You know I’m right about it. And let me tell you why I know I’m right about it. I’m right about it because we had on this campus last semester, three cases of young women, who after having done whatever they did with the young men, and then it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, guess what they did? They then went to Public Safety and said, ‘He raped me.’”
Then he tried to illustrate to the women how difficult it would be for the men to continue on living their lives after being accused of such a thing.
“When you allege that somebody did something of that nature to you, they go to jail. I don’t care how close they are to finishing the degree, their whole life changes overnight because they’re going to get a record. And that record is then going to follow them for the rest of their life…”
Why is Jennings saying all of this, well…
“Why am I saying all this, ladies? I’m saying this because, first and foremost, don’t put yourself in a situation that would cause you to be trying to explain something that really needs no explanation had you not put yourself in that situation.”
Lord, have His mercy as my Aunt always says. This man is a hot mess. And since the video was released, he’s actually stepped forward and defended his comments saying:
“No one would ever discourage a young woman on this campus from reporting a sexual assault. In fact, I emphasize to them how serious that allegation is and that the university takes it very seriously and so does the federal government and so does the court.”
Nah. What you effectively did was stress to them all the reasons why women should not report rape and basically, that women shouldn’t engage in any type of sexual activity with a man because they either won’t be the chosen one he takes home to momma or a woman would have put herself in “situation that needs no explanation.”
Whatever that means.
But even before that, when Jennings was talking about the nature of men and how they’ll use women up…even then he found a way to place that burden on our shoulders. “If we–women–allow it.” True, we can articulate what we will and won’t stand for in a relationship. But I wonder if Jennings had a similar meeting with all the men on campus where he instructed them to treat women, specially women they’re dating, you know, like decent human beings instead of objects to be “used up.” When did that conversation take place? The language is baffling and as one university parent said, “frightening.”
But back to the rape part.
We already know how many college campus rapes either go unreported or when the cases are filed, go ignored. And here is President Jennings essentially encouraging women not to report their rape because it would make the lives of the rapist sooo much harder.
I’m willing to bet that Jennings hasn’t been on the receiving end of a sexual assault or rape. Because if he had, surely he’d have more sympathy for the actual rape victim who will most likely have to deal with all types of mental, emotional, sometimes physical and almost always psychological affects afterward. I’m sorry but that seems to outweigh not being able to get into another university after you raped someone.
But the most disgusting part of Jennings’ speech is where he tells the audience about the three women last semester who filed claims of rape against fellow students. He flat out states that he didn’t believe these women. That the only reason they filed rape cases was because their encounters didn’t work out as they would have wanted.
Since Jennings wasn’t there when these sexual encounters “didn’t work out” the way these three women would have wanted, I find it pretty disgusting that he would, again, in front of an auditorium full of their peers, assert that these women were lying.
It’s rather disgusting and terribly frightening. I pray that if any more women do suffer rape or sexual assault on that campus that they not only have the courage to file a report but also transfer schools to get away from Jennings’ backwards ass thinking and those God forsaken convocation speeches.
You can watch a four minute clip from Jennings’ remarks in the video below.
When you think of Bill Cosby, you think Cliff Huxtable, Jell-O and you know the old grandfatherly type who’s always airing out his concern for the next generation of Black folks. But there just might be more to America’s favorite father. And it’s pretty dark.
Last week, during one of his standup comedy routines, Hannibal Buress, a comedian, in referencing Cosby’s criticisms of the Black community, stated that it was pretty much invalidated by the fact that he “rapes women.”
He said: “It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the fuckin’ smuggest old black man persona that I hate. He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.
I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns…I’ve done this bit on stage and people think I’m making it up… when you leave here, google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ That shit has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.”
But if you take Hannibal’s advice and google that phrase, you’ll see quite a bit of information, complete with graphic details about how Cosby allegedly drugged and assaulted or raped at least 13 women. There were 13 women who came forward with allegations that Cosby had drugged, assaulted or raped them…or a combination of the three.
First there was La’Chele Covington in 2000. She performed small, non-speaking parts on “The Cosby Show” and claimed that Cosby fondled her breasts and exposed himself to her in his home when he instructed her to come there for career advice.
Then there was Andrea Constand in 2005. Constand, 40, was a former Temple University (Cosby’s alma mater) worker who accused Cosby of drugging her and then sexually molesting her in 2004. She’s the one who brought in the names of other witnesses who had similar stories of sexual assaults and drugging. The legal action resulted in the case being settled out of court in 2006.
While the other witnesses were listed as Jane Doe, Tamara Green, a former attorney, was very open about her experiences with Cosby. She claimed though he assaulted her in the ’70’s she felt empowered to come forward after she learned it had happened to so many other women since then.
“He asked me to help him raise capital for a club he wanted to start. One day, I called him to cancel a meeting because I was feeling really sick, and he said, “Why don’t you come over to this restaurant I’m at, you’ll feel better if you have lunch.” I sat down, and he gave me what he said was two pills of [an over-the-counter cold medicine]. I swallowed them, and 20 minutes later I felt terrific; 30 minutes later, I was face-down in my soup. He volunteered to take me home. And then, because I was so ill, he volunteered to undress me and put me to bed. I started fighting him — I took a lamp and broke a window. He finally left. When I woke up, I saw that he left two 100-dollar bills on the table next to my front door. I was so sincerely and deeply infuriated that, even through the drugs…. I was crazed. I wanted to rip his neck off.
The next day, I went to go visit my brother, who was in the terminal ward at a children’s hospital. Cosby, smart man that he is, had been to the hospital to give presents to the kids. By the time I got to the hospital, my brother was glowing that the great Bill Cosby had given him a portable radio.”
And now, after Hannibal’s recent comments, Barbara Bowman, who was an aspiring actress and model at the time of her alleged rape and also a part of the 2006 trial, has come forward.
She spoke in disturbing detail with the Daily Mail about her alleged assault, calling Cosby a “serial rapist.”
Bowman, a teenager at the time, said that Cosby knew she didn’t have a father and used that information to manipulate her.
“I was drugged and raped by that man. He is a monster. He came at me like a monster. My hope is that others who have experienced sexual abuse will not be intimidated into silence by the famous, rich and powerful. If I can help one victim, then I’ve done my job.”
Bowman says that now that Cosby is set to come back to television, portraying a loving father, it sickens her.
“Maybe he should teach his fictitious TV family how to escape the talons of sexual predators. Bill used to tell me that he was my father figure and that I needed to trust him as a father, 100 percent. Then he’d drug me and attack me. I was too afraid to talk back.”
While other victims of Cosby’s assault are legally bound from speaking out against him, Bowman never took the money.
“I never took shut up money. My motivation to speak now is to expose Bill Cosby as the animal that he is. He went after me in that hotel room like an animal with such sexual prowess and force that he couldn’t control himself. And at 19-years-old, I knew it would be the last time he would ever get the chance to hurt me this way again.”
Bowman’s perverted relationship with Cosby began when her agent, a friend of Cosby’s, told her she had an opportunity to work under his tutelage.
Last year a Seattle man woke up from his sleep to he find his 240-pound female neighbor on top of him, raping him. While historically it’s been difficult for men to prove sexual violation at the hands of a woman, DNA evidence recently discovered backing up that claim.
According to The Smoking Gun, the alleged aggressor, 28-year-old Chantae Gilman, was identified after DNA evidence ran from the victim’s sexual assault kit revealed her identity. Chantae allegedly broke into the victim’s apartment and forced herself on top of the man. The victim demanded Gilman to get off of him but she repeatedly refused, allegedly pinning his hands over his head. The man was eventually able to free himself from up under the victim.
The victim told police he believed Chantae Gilman was a frequent drug user.
Gilman states that she has no memory of the incident and has been drug free for the past two months. The mother of four, who is also currently 31 weeks pregnant, has struggled with drug/drinking problems for some time. She also told police she is mentally ill.
Gilman has been charged with second-degree rape.
At this point, rape on college campuses is a well-documented problem. And though we’re more cognizant of the issue, it doesn’t mean that universities and even police departments are doing their due diligence in investigating and prosecuting rape cases.
Unfortunately, one Columbia University student knows this all too well.
Emma Sulkowicz reported her rape to the university. But when they failed to take action she filed a police report against her alleged rapist, fellow Columbia student, Jean-Paul Nungesser.
According to the police report Sulkowicz had consensual sex with Nungesser twice before the alleged attack. Two years ago, on August 27, Sulkowicz said the two started to have consensual sex again when things turned violent.
On the report Sulkowicz said Nungesser hit her across the face, choked her and pushed her knees to her chest, leaning on them to keep them up. He then held Sulkowicz’s wrists as he penetrated her anally.
Sulkowicz told him to stop but he did not. She struggled with him but he kept going. And then stopped suddenly without ejaculating.
Initially, Sulkowicz didn’t file a complaint through the university because she was embarrassed and ashamed of what had happened.
Sulkowicz told the Columbia Daily Spectator, “When it first happened, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t even tell my parents…I didn’t even want to talk to my best friend.”
But then she learned that there were two other women who claimed that Nungesser had assaulted them as well.
That’s when she went to the university.
“I realized that if I didn’t report him he’d continue to attack women on this campus. I had to do it for those other women.”
The university ultimately told her that they were not responsible. The same decision was given to the other two women who reported their incidents.
Sulkowicz took her story to the police and unfortunately, their response wasn’t much better.
Sulkowicz said, “There’s a reason survivors choose not to go to the police, and that’s because they’re treated as criminals. The rapists are innocent until proven guilty but survivors are guilty until proven innocent, at least in the eyes of the police.”
When she filed the report the officer kept emphasizing the fact that they had had consensual sex before. The officer kept asking what Nungesser was wearing that night and was surprised when Sulkowicz couldn’t remember specific details which occurred more than a year and a half ago.
When she was done speaking to the officer, he told her friend, “Of all of these cases, 90 percent are bullshit, so I don’t believe your friend for a second.”
Needless to say the investigation didn’t go far.
But Sulkowicz, a visual arts major, decided not to stop speaking about her experience. Instead, she turned it into her senior art project.
It’s a performance art piece called “Carry That Weight” Sulkowicz carries around her dorm mattress wherever she goes for as long as she’s attending the same school as her rapist.
See what she had to say about the piece and what she hopes people take from it in the video below.