Students all over the United States rallied behind the #carrythatweight campaign on today’s National Day of Action. The campaign began at Columbia University this year when a student decided to protest the way that the University handled sexual assaults by carrying her mattress around campus as a project for her senior thesis. In response, not only has our University’s student body rallied around this, but protests and “collective carries” have proliferated nationally amongst student bodies.
Today, Columbia University students took part in the National Day of Action. Here are some of their reasons:
1) I Carry That Weight because when I was sexually assaulted by another member of the Columbia University community and didn’t know where to go next, the administrator I talked to suggested that I get some “rest” and possibly go talk to the counseling center. My rapist is still on this campus today. — Columbia College, Economics
2) When my best friend was sexually assaulted by a non-traditional student almost twice her age, the administration at the University she attended found him guilty of sexual misconduct, but only offered him sensitivity training and a “no-contact” order. My best-friend shouldn’t have spent her Senior year afraid of seeing her rapist every day. — Barnard College, Urban Studies and Economics
3) I went to the rally because I shouldn’t have to be constantly afraid of men. — Barnard College, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
4) Having to fight the administrative bureaucracy after being assaulted SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY in order for a survivor of sexual assault to feel safe on campus. — Columbia School of General Studies, History
5) This University should not be allowing people who have been found guilty of committing sexual violence to remain on campus. That is why I am helping to #carrythatweight. — Graduate Student at Columbia University
6) We are here to get the best education we possibly can. How can we focus on that when there’s so much injustice on this campus? Turning a blind-eye is never an appropriate answer. — Columbia College Sophomore, Major Undecided
7) I carry that weight because my best friend was assaulted as a child and his family tried to cover up the incident to protect their reputation, which no different from what President Bollinger and [the Columbia administration] is doing now. — Barnard College, Astrophysics Major
8) [As a survivor of sexual assault] I just recently discussed physical boundaries with my new boyfriend, which is always an intimidating thing to do. His reaction was incredibly respectful and caring and I wanted to stand in solidarity with those who aren’t lucky enough to have partners or people in their life who respect their physical boundaries. — Barnard College, Film and Psychology
9) I march because I was warned about the dorm on campus where I “shouldn’t go to party” before I was told about where to go if I were to be raped. —Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), Biomedical Engineering
10) Columbia should have expelled my rapist a long time ago. — Columbia University School of General Studies
11) Because this school cares more about making sure first-year students memorize The Odyssey and The Iliad than making sure survivors of sexual assault feel safe on this campus. — Columbia College Junior, Financial Economics
12) Progress doesn’t begin until someone tries to disrupt the status-quo. But progress cannot be sustained by an individual alone. This is why we march. —Barnard College, Chemistry
13) I shouldn’t have been coerced by the administration to not follow through with my reporting of the person who raped me. It has been more than two years. He is still on campus. I see him often. And I don’t know what to do from here. — Columbia University Student, Major Unknown
As a note: people who submitted were only asked to identify themselves by which school/college they attended on the Columbia campus and their major. Is there something you’d like to tell us? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.