NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Students at Connecticut College are joining the “National Day of Action” to support survivors of sex assault, by carrying a mattress from class to class throughout the day.
“Carrying the Weight” campaign is in support of survivors of sexual and domestic violence. The national day of action is inspired by the activism and art of Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University student who is boldly carrying a dorm mattress around campus as long as her rapist continues to attend school.
Sulkowicz is a senior at Columbia, and has been carrying the mattress around since August. She says she was raped by another Columbia student the first day of her sophomore year in her dorm room. Sulkowicz reported the rape to Columbia after she encountered two other women who said they had been victimized by the same individual. Months later, the university held a hearing, and the student Sulkowicz accused was found not guilty. She appealed to Columbia’s dean. The school refused to expel her alleged assailant. Sulkowicz says she will carry the mattress around, until the school takes further action, or her accused rapist leaves on his own.
Emma Sulkowicz was featured on the cover of New York Magazine last month, for starting a revolution against campus sex assault.
Students in New London are joining the cause today. The hopes of the “Carrying the Weight Campaign” at Connecticut College, is so that collectively, survivors of domestic and sex assault, can collectively carry the weight of their abuse together. It is also to show the commitment to working together toward cultural and community-level change to end sexual and domestic violence.
Earlier this month, Senator Richard Blumenthal was at Wesleyan University in Middletown, promoting a bill that would help victims of sex assault on college campuses. He is looking to expand resources for victims, train universities to better investigate allegations, and shore up cooperation between universities and law enforcement agencies.