Emma Sulkowicz Article Review Example
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The article, “Misreading the Cry of Rape: Feminists Move beyond Victim to Activist to Reduce Crime to Farce,” by Suzanne Fields documents Emma Sulkowicz’s attempt to deal with her on-campus rape . A student at Columbia University, she is known for accusing a man with whom she was having consensual vaginal intercourse for taking it upon himself to anally penetrate her without penetration. Sulkowicz made a public accusation to proper school and public authorities to no avail. The man argues that even though Sulkowicz said, “No,” and attempted to fight him off with her legs, that she is a strong fencer with powerful legs and if she had really wanted him to stop, she could have stopped him. Therefore, in his mind, she must have really wanted him to do it. He was exonerated and, infuriated by the outcome Sulkowicz took to wearing the crime scene on her back, carrying it around to each of her classes on campus as a performance art piece while also raising awareness about her rape, and rapes everywhere.
My initial reaction to the story is sorrow and outrage. That any young woman should have to fear for her body, even after engaging in consensual sexual activity, is so saddening and infuriating. Emma Sulkowicz met a man she trusted enough to engage in sexual activity, and yet he still managed to take advantage of her. When Sulkowicz was strong enough to accuse him of what he had done in order to gain justice over her situation and body, her rapist made it appear as though the rape was her fault. He justified his actions by belittling his own body and insisting that if she had not wanted it, she would have stopped him. The logic behind this though is so blindingly enraging I cannot imagine how it felt to be Sulkowicz. That she only took to performance art and did not try to beat him senseless in the street is admirable. Rather than let a situation that could have filled her with anger and bitterness make her commit a crime, she decided to let it fuel one of her passions. Simultaneously, she allowed it to draw attention to other rape victims, both those who are strong enough to speak out and those who are not. The entire situation showed how strong Sulkowicz truly was, even in the face of injustice.
Oregon State University does not appear to have strict policies on sexual harassment and rape. Sulkowicz could not prove the rape, and had already entered into consensual sex with her partner and, therefore, was not taken seriously be OSU’s board of education when making her accusations .
I do not think this is adequate. This is unfortunately very common on campuses across America. College boards fail to recognize that rape can still occur after a couple engage in consensual sex. Consensual sex means engaging in the one act agreed upon, not all sexual acts involving two individuals. When Sulkowicz agreed to vaginal penetration with her partner, it did not mean he could take liberties with the rest of her body without her permission. When she began to say no and struggle, which was a sign that she did not want to engage in further sexual activity and the man was then engaging in rapist activity. As he commenced, he was then a rapist.
More colleges across the country should recognize this as a policy in order to save young girls from feeling obligated to engage in sexual activity they do not feel comfortable with anymore. Many women do not speak up because they do not feel they have a right to, or do not feel protected. If they understood consequences would befall their attackers and no stigmas were attached to already having engaged in consensual sex, more rapists would be named and college campuses would be safer for everybody. One of the reasons sexual harassment and rape is still so prevalent on college campuses is probably for this reasons. Young women engage in one type of sexual activity and, when a young man pushes it too far, the young woman is afraid to say no. If they say no, they are still afraid to report it because of the labels they will receive, the backlash that will occur, or the lack of repercussions their attacker will experience. Justice when it comes to sexual assault would allow young women to feel protected and would stop sexual assault from being such a prevalent issue.
Fields, S. (2014, November 19). Misreading the cry of rape: Feminists moving beyond victim to activist reduce crime to farce. Retrieved from The Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/19/suzanne-fields-emma-sulkowicz-and-misreading-the-c/
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