Twitchy yesterday reported on a lawsuit filed against Columbia University by Paul Nungesser, a student who claims the school has sided with the woman who accused him of rape, even though both school and law enforcement authorities rejected the case after interviews and investigation.

Since then, Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz has gained publicity in 35 countries by carrying a mattress with her wherever she goes on campus — an art project approved for college credit by visual arts professor Jon Kessler, who referred to the mattress in the Columbia Spectator as the site of Sulkowicz’ rape.

Whether the lawsuit determines if this is an example of a rape hoax or not, one high-profile supporter of Sulkowicz and her mattress project remains Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who invited Sulkowicz to be her guest at January’s State of the Union Address, writing in the Huffington Post that the mattress symbolizes “the burden she carries every single day as long as her rapist is still on campus.” Much like Kessler, Gillibrand doesn’t bother with qualifiers like “alleged,” despite Nungesser neither being charged by police nor disciplined by the university.

The Daily Caller, which recently compiled stories of eight campus rape hoaxes, reports today that Gillibrand hopes such hoaxes shine “more of a spotlight on the problem” — not the problem of hoaxes, but the problem of sexual assault. Asked at the Women in the World Conference about rape hoaxes like Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s debunked account of a fraternity gang rape that was published and then retracted by Rolling Stone magazine, Gillibrand answers as if the assault actually happened.

A spotlight on the problem?