The shameful response to Emma Sulkowicz's mattress protest at graduation.

As this brave student protested her alleged sex assault at her graduation this week, someone else was plotting to discredit her.

Emma Sulkowicz made international headlines last year, after she started carrying her mattress around her university to protest the mishandling of her alleged rape, which occurred on campus at Columbia.

Sulkowicz swore she would carry her mattress with her, as a form of protest art, until her alleged rapist was properly disciplined.

This week, Sulkowicz graduated from Columbia University– and because her alleged rapist was still there at graduation, so was her mattress.

But while many were celebrating the survivor’s courage, a disgraceful plot to undermine and victim-blame her was underway.

Following the graduation ceremony on Tuesday, posters appeared around New York City calling Emma a “pretty little liar”. The posters featured an image of Emma and her mattress alongside the caption #rapehoax.

It is unknown who is behind the attack, but it appears to be associated with a new Twitter account, @FakeRape.

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The account is yet another attempt in a string of previous efforts to discredit Emma’s allegations: Reports of this victim-blaming incident come after the NY Times revealed Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger refused to shake Emma’s hand when she graduated — even though he shook the hands of every other student, including her alleged rapist.

The man accused of raping Emma also graduated yesterday, and his family released a statement calling the mattress protest “a nightmare.”

“Responsible for this nightmare is not just the woman, who received an academic degree for the attempt to shame Paul away from campus, but even more at fault is the University that conferred this degree,” the statement read.

Mamamia previously reported…

Emma Sulkowicz vowed to carry a mattress around her university until her rapist was expelled.

And because he was still there at graduation, so was her mattress.


On Tuesday, Emma graduated from Columbia university alongside her rapist, and her friends helped her to carry the famous mattress up to the podium.

Emma Sulkowicz and friends carrying her mattress at graduation. Image: Twitter.

Prior to graduation, Columbia sent an email around attempting to dissuade Emma from bringing her mattress.

“Graduates should not bring into the ceremonial area large objects which could interfere with the proceedings or create discomfort to others in close, crowded spaces shared by thousands of people,” it read.

However, this week, 23-year-old Emma and her friends walked the mattress on to the stage to collect Emma’s Visual Arts degree.

Image:  Twitter.

Emma made international headlines last year, after she started carrying her mattress around her university to protest the mishandling of her rape, which occurred on campus at Columbia.

Emma (right) laughing with friend. Image: Twitter.

After reporting the assault, two other women made allegations against the same perpetrator, yet all of their cases were dismissed.

“During my hearing, one panelist kept asking me how it was physically possible for anal rape to happen,” Emma told TIME. “I was put in the horrible position of trying to explain how this terrible thing happened to me.”

The mattress protest became the subject of Emma’s thesis in performance art. After gaining widespread notoriety, fellow students and women at universities across the US staged similar protests. The movement is now known as Carry That Weight.

Emma started the Carry That Weight protest after her rape complaint was dismissed by Columbia university.

According to TIME, Columbia and 90 other schools are currently under federal investigation for gender discrimination, particularly in regard to their handling of sexual assault cases.

Emma’s accused rapist is currently suing the university and Sulkowicz thesis coordinator for releasing his name.

Earlier this year, he released a Facebook exchange between the two in attempt to accuse Emma of lying.

He also graduated today.

Do you think sexual assault is a problem on university campuses? 

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“I graduated from university. A rape victim with a Bachelor degree.”

These Facebook messages were enough to convince the world he didn’t rape her. They shouldn’t have been.

Emma Sulkowicz is the face of a generation that women need.