At the end of finals, most college kids go party. When Emma Sulkowicz finished her last exam of the school year on Tuesday, she went back to her dorm room and dialed 911.
It had been almost two years since Sulkowicz, now a rising senior at Columbia University, says she was raped by a classmate. And it had been seven months since she revisited the experience at a school disciplinary hearing, a process that she said left her feeling physically sick, then empty and then scared.
In the hearing, Sulkowicz said she had to explain to the three administrators on the panel how anal rape worked. She told them she had been hit across the face, choked and pinned down, but said one still seemed confused about how it was possible for someone to penetrate her there without lubricant. Sulkowicz said she had to draw them a diagram.
“To have random administrators being the ones who have to stomach the gory details of rape,” said Sulkowicz. “…they weren’t prepared for this role.”
Sulkowicz’s best friend was meant to be at the hearing; she’d chosen her as her one “supporter.” But her friend was kicked out of that role for talking about the case, according to Sulkowicz, in violation of the university’s confidentiality policy. As punishment, her friend was also put on probation, and made to write two reflection papers: one from the perspective of Sulkowicz and another from the accused.