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Demonstrators Stand Up To Violence Against Women At Columbia University

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Students gathered at Columbia University to stand up to violence against women in the wake of the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal and on-campus rapes.

During the rally students could be seen carrying a mattress around to make a point, CBS 2's John Slattery reported. Demonstrators said people need to wake up.

"I'm a survivor of sexual assault and I don't believe the body is something to be conquested over," said one rallier.

Whenever Columbia senior Emma Sulkowicz walks on the campus, she carries a mattress, saying she was raped on campus the first day of her sophomore year.

"I was raped by a serial rapist and we and two others took it to the school and the school dismissed all of us," she said.

Sulkowicz said the accusations were dismissed because it was found to be more likely than not that the rape didn't happen. But Sukowicz insists it did. She said the man has merely been order not to contact her in any way.

"I think our campus is unsafe. This serial rapist was at a bar last night, hitting on other women. Just the fact that he's still here is disgusting to me," she said.

In a statement the university has said it's updated its sexual assault policy and expanded training for incoming undergrads. The intent here, according to organizers, is to heighten awareness that both Columbia and Barnard College are not immune to sexual assault and domestic violence, Langford reported.

"You can see from all the people that have spoken, rape happens all the time and we go to a school that doesn't support survivors of rape," said Barnard student Juliette Kessler.

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