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Emma Sulkowicz Receives 2016 Woman of Courage Award

William Hicks of Heatstreet writes that Emma Sulkowicz, the artist who garnered attention for Carry That Weight, 2015, her BFA thesis project at Columbia University for which she carried a mattress with her everywhere on campus for a year to protest the school’s treatment of her rape allegations against another student, just received the National Organization for Women’s 2016 Woman of Courage Award.

In response to the award, the artist said in an entry on her Instagram account: “Camille Paglia has publicly called my artwork a ‘masochistic exercise’ in which I neither ‘evolve’ nor ‘move on.’ She speaks as if she, a white woman, knew what was best for me, a woman of color she’s never met. Many people ask me how I’ve ‘healed’ from my assault, as if healing were another word for ‘forgetting about it,’ ‘getting over it,’ or even ‘shutting up about it.’ To expect me to move on is to equate courage with self-censorship. The phrases—suck it up, move on, and get over it—are violence . . . I dedicate this award to everyone who has not told me to get over it. Thank you for validating my fear and my way of handling it. Thank you for creating a world in which we can tackle the things that terrify us by doing the unexpected right thing.”