student protestors at Columbia

Emma Sulkowicz isn’t alone

When Emma Sulkowicz launched her highly visible protest art about Columbia’s handling of her sexual assault allegations, no one imagined she was the only person whose case had been mishandled by the university. In fact, dozens of women have now filed complaints against the school. But Sulkowicz became a symbol of survivors of sexual violence at Columbia, and those of us not on the university’s campus heard little about the other survivors. Until now.

Yesterday, The Huffington Post published an investigation of the university’s mishandling of these cases, including allegations made by a man against another man — a form of sexual violence that too often goes undiscussed in mainstream coverage of campus assault.

The investigation revealed, among other things, that the University considers it “retaliation” for your friends to decide they won’t invite your rapist to a party, and that retaliation can result in misconduct charges for the survivor. Also, two of the professional investigators in one of these cases said they “felt uncomfortable discussing sexual assault.” Which is not a great thing to have on your resume if you’re a professional sexual assault investigator. The whole thing is enraging, and worth a read.

We’ve always known that “Mattress Girl” wasn’t alone, just that she was the most visible. And now, more people are coming forward and telling their stories.

Header image credit: Red Tape/The Huffington Post

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Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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