Over 130 students with 19 mattresses stood in Schrock Plaza on Wednesday afternoon to stand in solidarity with the Carry That Weight movement’s National Day of Action.
The National Day of Action began in response to Emma Sulkowicz, a senior at Colombia University, who began carrying her mattress all over campus after she filed a report against her alleged rapist. Her plan is to continue carrying the mattress until her alleged rapist is expelled.
The National Day of Action is based on Sulkowicz’s thesis and is meant to be a form of solidarity.
Claire Frederick, a sophomore, brought the event to Goshen’s campus after she saw the event being broadcasted on Facebook.
Frederick chose to bring this day to Goshen College because she felt that carrying mattresses was one small way to show solidarity. She also believes GC needed to be aware of sexual assault issues.
“It seems clear that Goshen has a history, or at least a recent history, of ignoring sexual assault and rape culture on our campus,” Frederick said.
Frederick organized the event on Goshen’s campus in about two days. She asked eight other students to carry around one main mattress that had “Carry That Weight” written on it and had people sign it to show solidarity with the movement.
The eight other students who helped carry the mattress were Zach Zimmerman, a sophomore; Lea Ramer, a sophomore; Sarah Hofkamp, a sophomore; Anya Kreider, a sophomore; Natalie Thorne, a sophomore; Erin Bergen, a first-year; and Danny Klink, a sophomore.
Klink said he got involved because “there’s no justification for rape,” and he wanted to remind the college that this is happening on our campus too.
Besides carrying one central mattress, students all over campus were invited to carry pillows and mattress, all day, in support and for the National Day of Action. The main mattress was also taken to chapel and people signed it there as well.
New York Magazine and Cosmopolitan magazine contacted Frederick for photos of the event Wednesday afternoon.
“It developed quite quickly in the last couple of hours,” Frederick said.
The day ended with students gathering in Schrock Plaza to take a photo to send to the magazines.
People began arriving at 3:45 p.m. with pillows and mattresses. Some students came alone, some came in groups, and at 4 p.m. the men’s soccer team ran over from practice.
Alma Carrillo Flores, a sophomore, held a sign that read, “En nombre de las mujeres de México y el mundo,” which means “On behalf of the women of Mexico and the world.”
Frederick addressed the crowd and said, “I’m really happy you’re all here… This is not only to recognize the issue at Columbia, but that this happens at all colleges, including Goshen College.”
Although many students did carry pillows or mattresses all day, Hofkamp felt that this movement was met by the general consensus that carrying a mattress or pillow around was inconvenient.
This reaction, Hofkamp said was “a really good metaphor for the… brutally, unthoughtful truth of sexual assault.”
Like walking around campus with a mattress, Hofkamp said, “It’s hard to get through doors and get to class on time… when you’ve been sexually assaulted.”
However, Frederick and Hofkamp are both looking forward to seeing where this movement might take the campus.
“I could see discussion just sort of being useful at this point,” Hofkamp said.
For more information about the Carry That Weight movement, visit http://www.carryingtheweighttogether.com.