I’m sure a lot of you heard about Emma Sulkowicz and her project “Carry that Weight,” in response to her school (Columbia University) refusing to expel her rapist. She vowed to carry her dorm mattress around until he was removed from the University. The project gained a significant amount of support, with other students assisting her and waiting outside of her classes to help carry the mattress. The project has now taken even more exciting turns, gaining notoriety and support from within the university and around the world. She has inspired other students, even some so close as the same floor of her dorm, to join in the mattress-carrying, awareness-raising, change-demanding movement. Students all over the world joined together for one day to air out their mattresses and their personal struggles in a demonstration of how poorly sexual assaults are often handled on college campuses everywhere. Huffington Post reports over 10,000 RSVPs for “attending” on the facebook event page for the protest.
Now, I’ve written about this issue before, both in my “Objectification Nation” post and in my “Not So Frat-tastic” post, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve been following this as well. What should surprise you, is that there haven’t been many responses from schools. This article from Time.com displays link after link of investigative reporting and opinion reporting of sexual assaults on campuses (specifically regarding their handling by administration). That in itself should show you this isn’t one person’s problem. This isn’t one school’s problem. This isn’t even one country’s problem. This is something that affects all of us and it needs to be addressed until it’s changed. Whether we use demonstrations, articles, petitions, or simple conversations, we need to keep reminding ourselves and others that problems like this exist because we let them, and we shouldn’t continue that cycle.