“Sexual assault is almost impossible to prove. We have no idea what happened in that room that night.”
Vanessa Grigoriadis, author of Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus, is talking to Mia Freedman’s No Filter about former Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz, 25, and her story of sexual assault.
Long before the hashtag, Sulkowicz lit a fire under the issue, paving the way for women like Ashley Judd, who was the first to publicly accuse film producer Harvey Weinstein, and ‘Emily Doe‘, who told the world how it felt to wake up and learn she’d been raped by college student Brock Turner.
Sulkowicz, too, started a conversation. This is her story.
Sulkowicz, who later became known as ‘The Mattress Girl’, was 19 years old and starting her second year at Columbia University in New York in August 2012.
She and a friend, Paul Nungesser, who lived in her co-ed college house, were at a party together.
Sulkowicz wasn’t really drinking – she’d had a sip of gin and soda – but Nungesser was making his way through a bottle of vodka. They kissed in the courtyard, the air warm around them. They’d slept together before, twice at the very beginning of their first year of college. And that night, they both wanted it to happen again.