By KATE LEAVER
There’s a revolution happening on college campuses around the world. President Obama has joined — and if we care about the future of young women at all, we must join too.
This revolution started somewhat unconventionally: With one 21-year-old girl and her navy blue single mattress.
Emma Sulkowicz is currently carrying her mattress everywhere she goes.
She’ll carry that damn mattress around until the guy who raped her has been expelled.
Until Columbia University – to whom she pays thousands of dollars a year – chooses to protect her, rather than silence or neglect her.
Honestly? She’s my hero right now. The simplicity of her one-woman protest is beguiling. And already, students have come forward to support her.
Here she is, with a group of students helping her carry her mattress — and in turn, the truth of her assault — around. They’re literally, physically, lightening her burden. In a broader social sense, that’s exactly what we need to do for the 1 in 5 women who, like Emma, have their bodies violated sexually by men they know or trust.
That’s 1 in 5 women at universities in America. But it’s also 1 in 5 Australian women.
Sexual violence against women on university campuses is an epidemic. Until now, victims have stayed quiet — scared that their reputations will be tarnished, that their friends will turn against them, or that they’ll be blamed for soliciting their own assault.
The majority do not or cannot report their crimes, and those who do largely choose to stay anonymous.
And yet, here’s Emma Sulkowicz, with her name, her face, her identity, and the horrific details of her abuse, out in public.
It’s revolutionary. And as far as I’m concerned:
COME THE REVOLUTION.
In universities across America and here in Australia, women are routinely drugged, beaten, betrayed, and raped — overwhelmingly by guys they know and like.