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Penn students are joining the ranks of the Columbia University-born movement to fight sexual assault by carrying mattresses on their backs.

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, Penn will participate in “Carrying the Weight Together” National Day of Action. Students across the country will carry mattresses and pillows in protest of sexual assault and in support of Emma Sulkowicz , a junior at Columbia University. Sulkowicz made national headlines when she began carrying a mattress around campus in protest of Columbia’s handling of her sexual assault.

Sulkowicz was allegedly raped by a fellow student in 2012 and filed a complaint with the University last year. After Columbia found her alleged rapist innocent, Sulkowicz set a protest through performance art in motion, which has become viral. Two months into her protest, student activists at Columbia have launched “Carrying the Weight Together” to spread awareness across the country by encouraging college campuses nationwide to follow in Sulkowicz’s footsteps.

At Penn, students will demonstrate support for the cause on Wednesday by carrying around their own mattresses and pillows. As the demonstration’s title suggests, one of its central messages is that of collaboration — the difficult task of carrying a 50 pound mattress can be alleviated if others help carry it, just as solidarity can fuel progression in fighting rape culture.

College senior and Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention Leader Joanna Kamhi is coordinating the demonstration at Penn. “ASAP is promoting ‘Carrying the Weight Together’ at Penn because it’s a tangible way for Penn students to show support for survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence,” she said. “The movement demonstrates that ending rape culture is everyone’s responsibility — not just the responsibility of survivors and women.”

ASAP leaders hope that the demonstration will facilitate communication about sexual assault at Penn, which they hope can lead to a safer environment.

College freshman Christopher Cahill plans to participate in Wednesday’s demonstration. “It’s important that we bring this demonstration to Penn because we cannot pretend that Penn is immune to this problem,” Cahill said. “Rape culture is a societal problem, and Penn is ... not an exception in the least.”

ASAP leader and College senior Alexis Richards is sure that this demonstration will not be overlooked.

“We will be a campus full of pillow carriers that cannot be ignored,” Richards said.

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