Emma Sulkowicz

Emma Sulkowicz63 posts

Emma Sulkowicz is an American arts student, born in New York in 1992, who gained media attention for carrying a mattress around campus to highlight what she saw as Columbia University’s lack of action to remove her alleged rapist from the campus.

8 Nov, 2013

‘Not responsible’ for Sulkowicz assault

Judgement

Columbia decides that Nungesser is “not responsible” for any assault on Sulkowicz.  Sulkowicz claims the university investigator had taken inaccurate and incomplete notes, that the man she had accused had been granted months of postponements and that she had been warned, repeatedly, that she could not discuss the case with anyone.

I’ve never felt more shoved under the rug in my life.

She says she struggled to respond to a panelist who seemed to believe that anal sex without lubrication is impossible.

[They] kept asking me to explain the position I was in. At one point, I was like, ‘Should I just draw you a picture?’ So I drew a stick drawing.

She says Nungesser testified that she had imagined that he had coerced her. She says Nungesser told the panel that if Sulkowicz is a fencer she would have strong legs, so as a lightweight rower he could not have pinned her legs down. He claimed the sex was consensual and that he ejaculated on Sulkowicz, who grabbed a tissue, wiped the ejaculate off, and “ ‘threw the tissue away’.

None of which is true—he never came that night. He just stopped and ran away.

On the decision, Sulkowicz:

I didn’t even cry at first. I don’t know. Has anything ever happened to you that was just so bad that you felt like you became a shell of a human being?

3 May, 2013

Learns about allegations

Accusation

One day before the end of classes, Nungesser receives two new accusations. The first is from Natalie, a former girlfriend alleging he had emotionally and sexually abused her for the duration of that relationship. The second is from Josie, who claims that in April 2012, he had tried to kiss her at a party. Josie had written off the incident as drunken aggression, but after a mutual friend of hers and Nungesser’s tells her that he was participating in a hearing panel related to sexual assault, she contacts the Office of Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct. She says she remembered thinking:

What if I wasn’t as tall and strong as I am? What if I was really drunk? Those ideas made me very scared for other women.

The Office sends Nungesser an email instructing him to vacate his room at ADP the next day “to ensure the safety of all the parties involved in this matter” and move to another dorm for the few remaining days of the school year.

25 Apr, 2013

Natalie reports Nungesser

Reports crime

Natalie reports Nungesser to Student Services for Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct under “intimate partner violence” and “non-consensual sexual intercourse. Within days specially trained investigators designated by the Assistant Director of Student Services for Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct, begin to gather “pertinent documentation materials” from both respondent and complainant. This information includes interviews and communications such as text messages and emails relating to the alleged assault. Interviews are also conducted with friends of the students. Natalie says of the interview process:

She [the investigator]  would write things down that were abbreviations of what I said. Things that weren’t correct. It didn’t come out coherently. It didn’t sound like a strong case.

She claims Student Services never contacted a friend with whom she had discussed the alleged abuse during their relationship. Exhausted from final exams and moving out of her dorm for the summer vacation, Natalie tells Student Services she isn’t in the best mental or emotional space to represent herself and would rather push the hearing until after she had time to recuperate over vacation. When asked to review and comment on Nungesser’s statement, she says she cannot, and refuses the investigators request for her to mark X in the margins where she disagrees with his account. She then stops returning the investigators calls and emails, assuming that the case would continue in the following school year. Later she receives a mail from the investigator, saying the investigation has been closed.

Based on the information available from the investigation, there is not sufficient information to indicate that reasonable suspicion exists to believe that a policy violation occurred.

18 Apr, 2013

Reports rape to Columbia

Reports crime

Sulkowicz reports the alleged rape to Columbia’s Office of Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct. Nungesser:

My first reaction was, ‘It has to be a misunderstanding’. Maybe she meant a different guy, or something completely strange happened.

Nungesser is placed on restricted access to university buildings other than his own dorm, making it difficult to fulfill his duties as an audiovisual technician. He claims that within a few days, despite confidentiality rules, he starts to be shunned by fellow students.

3 Oct, 2012

Relationship dwindles

Breakup

On Sulkowicz’s birthday, Nungesser sends Sulkowicz a message:

oh hai happy born day you better be celebrating muchos, no? donde estas tu i mi viva – see i’m so desperate with out you, i even try to speak spanish – anywho: merry happy days

She responds the next morning:

I love you Paul. Where are you?!?!?!?!

Nungesser claims they start to drift apart; they see each other at meetings and parties, but plans to get together alone never come to anything. Nungesser says he assumed it was simply a matter of hanging out with a new crowd and, due to Sulkowicz being in a new relationship. He claims the drift is:

Very amiable; nothing was changed or different or weird or anything in her behavior.

27 Aug, 2012

Alleged rape

Accusation

According to a later police report, Sulkowicz claims that when she and Nungesser start to have consensual sex he hits her across the face, chokes her, and pushes her knees onto her chest and leans on her knees to keep them up. He then grabs her wrists and penetrates her anally. Sulkowicz tells Nungesser to stop, but he does not. She struggles with him and tries to push his arms away, but he keeps going and suddenly stops without ejaculating. Nungesser claims in his later suit that he and Sulkowicz engaged in consensual sex, including vaginal and anal sex, followed by oral intercourse.

Apr 2012

Alleged assault against Josie

Josie (a pseudonym) is allegedly assaulted by Nungesser when she is bartending a party during her junior year at Columbia. She says she went upstairs to bring down more beer to restock the bar. Nungesser is drunk and follows her. She hadn’t asked him to join her, but his offer to help retrieve the PBR seemed friendly enough.

Paul followed me upstairs at a party, came into a room with me uninvited, closed the door behind us, and grabbed me. I politely said, “Hey, no, come on, let’s go back downstairs.” He didn’t listen. He held me close to him as I said no, and continued to pull me against him. I pushed him off and left the room quickly. I told a few friends and my boyfriend at the time how creepy and weird it was. I tried to find excuses for his behavior. I did a decent job of pushing it out of my mind.

She tells some close friends how unnerved she was, and writes it off as creepy, drunken aggression. Nungesser leaves her alone after that night.

I wasn’t emotionally scarred or anything. I’m used to people grabbing my ass in bars—that’s the shitty state of the world today. Honestly, I didn’t even think it was a reportable offense covered by the misconduct policy.

Mar 2012

Sexual relationship

Romance

During their freshman year, Sulkowicz and Nungesser’s friendship deepens. According to Nungesser’s later suit against Columbia, even before they have a sexual relationship, Sulkowicz brings up the topic of anal sex:

ES: Fuck me in the butt
PN: ehm, maybe not? jk I miss your face tho
ES: ahahah. you don t miss my lopsided ass?
PN: I do, just not that much

Later, Sulkowicz claims her comment is taken out of context.

Back in freshman year, I used to say the phrase ‘Fuck me in the butt’ to mean ‘OMG, that’s sooo annoying’. We all said stupid shit freshman year. Over time, I worked that kink out of my lexicon, but now and then I still say stupid things. We all say stupid things!

The relationship progresses to “friends with benefits”. In the spring of 2012 they have sex twice, the second time, according to Nungesser, includes anal sex, which Nungesser has not experienced before. Sulkowicz said she had tried before with other men and enjoyed it.

One of the main reasons their relationship does not become deeper was that Sulkowicz had previously been having sex with Nungesser’s close friend, known as John Doe. While Nungesser is back home in Germany for the summer, she messages him that she had tested positive for an STD  (Chlamydia) after having having drunken sex at a party with John Doe, and his best friend Joe.

I’ve officially had sex with all of John Doe’ best friends. . . – did lotsa drugs -jk -just got very drunk – well anyways – now i have an std-i actually hate John Doe like if a girl is about to puke – don’ tput your unprotected dick into her. . . I realy don’t want to be known as the girl who contracted an std because she was drunk you know? it is more his fault for f-cking me unconscious – i mean i was conscious but clearly not in my right mind. . . i was literally blackout. . . like i puked all over the place.

From May 2012 through August of 2012 Sulkowicz sends many Facebook messages to Nungesser, expressing her love for him.

“Paul I wuv you so much. Please stay w me foevah” – “paul I miss you so much” – “like u know when you tell people you miss them and you don’t really mean it? – i actually mean it – i miss you so much – ahhh” – “pookie – i miss you” – “I LOVE YOU – SO MUCH” – “I MISS YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING – “I love youuuu” – “and l would LOVE to have you here – omg – we could snuggle” -“PAUL I MISS YOU PAUL I MISS YOU PAUL I MISS YOU” – PAULLL” – “DUDE I MISS YOU SO MUCH” “I love you Paul “

Aug 2011

Relationship with Natalie

Romance

Nungesser and Natalie (pseudonym) start a relationship. Natalie claims she felt emotionally and sexually exploited during the relationship, but was unable to identify it as abuse. She says she was suffering from serious depression before meeting Nungesser and had recently ended an emotionally abusive relationship. She would later wonder whether he used her vulnerability to manipulate her. She claims Nungesser often forcefully pinned her arms back against the mattress during sex; Natalie would cry during and after they slept together. Not until months after their break up did Natalie claim to recognize this as non-consensual intercourse. Later, after Sulkowicz’s alleged rape, Natalie and Sulkowicz meet at a party, and they both decide to make formal complaints.

I knew if no one punished him, he would keep on raping women… If I didn’t report it, he would keep harming people for the rest of his time on campus. He had to be stopped. That’s why I decided to report it.

Attends Columbia

Attends College

At Columbia, Sulkowicz plans to study mechanical physics but ends up studying visual arts instead. She joins Alpha Delta Phi (ADP), Columbia’s co-ed “hipster frat”. As she puts it:

Only the most hipster of the hipster kids can get in.

Sulkowicz and Nungesser, a film fanatic and rower, meet at the fraternity.

He was a nice person; a cool person who was secretly really crazy.

2004

Attends Dalton school

Sulkowicz attends Dalton school, an exclusive and prestigious private school on the upper east side of Manhattan, where she is an A student and competitive fencer. She enjoys physics greatly and considers completing a physics major in college.

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