Young women raped at Columbia University in the U.S.A. blame school authorities and police for aiding their rapists. They will not be silent. Neither should we. Silence implies consent and, by our silence, we make ourselves accomplices to the heinous criminals who enjoy the protection of "The System". They are such nice boys. So what if they enjoy a little fun? That is "The System" our society supports.
Slavery is now frowned on.
Women have the right to vote.
But RAPE is still okay.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We're speaking with Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University senior who says she'll carry a dorm room mattress with her everywhere on campus until her rapist is expelled or leaves campus on his own. Emma Sulkowicz is not alone. On Friday, hundreds of students turned out to a rally carrying mattresses of their own, chanting "Carry that weight!" a reference to the emotional burden they say all survivors must carry each day. In front of Low Library at Columbia University in a speak-out that lasted hours, many shared stories of violence, injustice and healing. This is just some of their voices.
STUDENTS: Carry that weight! Carry that weight! Carry that weight! Carry that weight!
SIERRA: Sierra. I'm a freshman here at Columbia. And for the past two weeks, I've been meeting with deans and advisers in different environments, and they've been telling me how they can help me get a job, how they can help me study abroad. How are you going to help end sexual assault on my campus? Why is it more likely for me to be raped at this college than it was for me to get into this college?
ALICE: My name is Alice. I'm a junior at Barnard. To graduate from Columbia College, you need to pass a swim test or take a beginner's swim class. I don't get why Columbia's administration doesn't uphold consent—enthusiastic, continuous, retractable, noncoerced consent—as a Columbia requirement. My assaulter graduated. My friend's rapist graduated. I guess not being a rapist isn't a graduation requirement, unlike knowing how to swim. Knowing how to breast stroke for three laps isn't going to keep me from drowning when I see my rapists on campus or their name on a class roster or when you run into them in an elevator. Columbia, where rapists walk away with diplomas, but you can't graduate unless you pass the swim test.
DOROTHY: Hi, I'm Dorothy. I'm a freshman. I've been on this campus for two weeks, and I was sexually assaulted six days ago. And no one tells you where to go from there, so...
JEN: Jen. My first year here on campus at Barnard College, I was raped. Unlike the vast majority of students who are raped on this campus, I was not raped in a dorm or in a party or on campus, but off campus. I quickly went into something of a spiral, where I couldn't sleep at night and I could only sleep during the day. And I started having trouble in my classes, and I started having my grades slip. And it became an issue, and I went to speak to the dean of students at Barnard, a woman, a women's college, and I told her what had happened to me. And she looked at me with a sad expression and said, "You went where we tell our girls never to go." The idea that she would both victim-blame me and invoke the most racist stereotypes of how sexual assault happens, at the same time, says everything about what this university represents. This was 22 years ago. And what has changed?