Trigger Warning: rape, sexual assault
By Taylor Galla ‘18
Students gather to express solidarity with the Columbia senior behind “Carry That Weight.” Photos by Suzette Guzman ‘18
On Wednesday Oct. 29, members of each of the 5Cs joined together in the “5C Carry That Weight Together” event uniting in solidarity with other Carry That Weight movements and Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia senior who has pledged to carry her mattress everywhere she goes until the man she says raped her is expelled.
Organized by CMC Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, the event lasted about an hour and included a signing of a bed sheet pledging solidarity with survivors of sexual assault, and a march across the campuses of all five Claremont Colleges.
Emma Sulkowicz reported being raped the first day of her sophomore year at Columbia University, and the case ended with no repercussions for her accused rapist. She has been trying to get the case reopened ever since.
Along with United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sulkowicz filed a federal complaint against Columbia for the school’s handling of sexual assault cases.
Currently at Columbia, even if a student is determined guilty of sexual assault on campus, the worst punishment possible for them to receive is suspension, allowing them to eventually return to classes.
Sulkowicz has been quoted saying that the idea that she will have to stand next to her rapist at graduation makes her sick.
In response to cases such as Sulkowicz’s, California governor Jerry Brown recently passed a law entitled “Yes Means Yes” which legally establishes the necessity of consent in any sexual encounter between two individuals. This legal movement is a profound step towards changing the way sexual assault is perceived and handled on campuses statewide.
At the Claremont Colleges, sexual assault is a prevalent and much-discussed topic; the Carry That Weight event reflected this progressive attitude. The event was attended by all genders, grade levels and schools.
As the group walked the five campuses carrying a half a dozen mattresses and a large bedsheet signed by members of the group, each person carried a joy in expressing support for this cause. With the solemnity of the topic, people took an attitude of genuine contentment with being there and joining with a group of people who shared this feeling.
As they walked, reactions varied from glances to high fives and cheers once onlookers understood what was being done.