2014 Was the Year Colleges Finally Had to Answer for Rape on Campus

December 30, 2014

Emma Sulkowicz, a senior visual arts student at Columbia University, carries a mattress on Sept. 5 in New York City in protest of the university's lack of action after she reported being raped during her sophomore year. Sulkowicz has said she is committed to carrying the mattress everywhere she goes until the university expels the rapist or he leaves.


Rachel Dodes Wortman, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who now works at Twitter, described being drugged and raped when she was a senior at Cornell University. “There are a series of blurry images, like a movie montage: us kissing on the couch, him carrying me to his bed, and then choking me while we had sex. I don’t remember saying ‘No,’ but I also think the issue of consent, in this particular instance, is not really applicable,” she writes.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, wrote on Jezebel this month about having dinner with a “nice Jewish boy” who tried to rape her during the summer between her junior and senior years at college. She told her story, she said, because she was worried that the retraction of the Rolling Stone story would erect a “curtain of silence, where young women feel too afraid to share their truth.”

Abigail Hauslohner, the Cairo bureau chief at the Washington Post, told the story of visiting a family friend at his college 14 years ago, going to a fraternity party, and being raped by the friend afterward in his dorm room. She recalls “my head lolling to one side and then my body falling back onto the mattress,” before repeatedly saying “No.”

In an essay in her book, Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham wrote about being assaulted by a fellow Oberlin College student after leaving a party drunk and high. In a BuzzFeed post this month, Dunham described the backlash she faced for recounting the incident, including having her “character and credibility questioned at every turn” and being “attacked online with violent and misogynistic language.”

Susan Dominus, a reporter for the New York Times Magazine, uses column space to chronicle an episode in her senior year of college, where she drank unidentified liquid from a red cup at a party and was later assaulted by the man who filled the cup for her: He pressured her, “until, under the influence, I stopped resisting.”

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