Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student known for a performance piece where she carried her mattress everywhere in protest of her school's response to her alleged rape by another student, graduated this week.
Her protest gained national attention, and brought to light the rampant problem of sexual assault on American college campuses. Sulkowicz said she would only end the project when the student she accused of raping her was expelled or she graduated. The crowd applauded when Sulkowicz brought the mattress onstage during a pre-commencement ceremony Tuesday with the help of other friends.
But some used the moment to launch their own crusade.
The backlash continues: A new Twitter account, @fakerape, was launched Tuesday, showing images of a campaign to smear Sulkowicz's claims. Flyers and large posters placed in public spaces on and near the Columbia University campus call Sulkowicz a "Pretty Little Liar" and feature the hashtag "#RapeHoax." Another poster targets Girls creator and star Lena Dunham, who wrote about her own experience with campus sexual assault in her memoir Not That Kind of Girl.
"I've seen people saying terrible things in anonymous comments on our school newspaper, but I've never seen such a public, misogynistic act towards her," the student said. "It feels very different from people sitting at their computer screens. This seems a lot more dangerous."
As Mic previously reported, "Sulkowicz is one of 23 Columbia University and Barnard College students who filed a federal Title IX complaint against the school, alleging that it mishandled sexual assault cases."