After carrying mattresses on their backs around campus on Wednesday, a group of Belmont students met outside the Bell Tower with signs bringing awareness to sexual violence and rape culture on college campuses.
“When I learned about everything that was going on, I got really mad about it. I wanted to do something about it, and I think my voice as a university student is important,” said, freshman Leah Broderick.
Freshman Emma Lambiase organized the event through the Belmont Girl Gang Facebook page, along with 130 college campuses across the country to show support for Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz in the “Carry That Weight” movement.
Sulkowicz was raped on her first day of sophomore year in her dorm room at Columbia University in New York. She is currently a senior. For her senior thesis, she is carrying around her mattress until her rapist is expelled or leaves the campus on his own. Her actions have sparked debate across the country regarding sexual assault on college campuses.
For Belmont students, the event gave both young men and women an opportunity to raise awareness on campus.
“It’s definitely a reflection of the culture of college campuses across the U.S. Thankfully at Belmont they’re willing to work with the students, but we’re showing our support for the movement,” freshman Kendall Miller said.
The Girl Gang group had a few “naysayers” but for the most part received positive support from the students of Belmont. Some students even stopped and offered to carry the mattresses for the demonstrators, Lambiase said.
Currently, the group is in the process of applying for official recognition as a Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance chapter at Belmont, Lambiase said. In the future, the group plans to hold more meetings and demonstrations.
This article was written by Brooklyn Penn and Kaitlyn Foehner.