How We Started
Ulzi started when Maxwell Fong and Elan Timmons heard the statistic “one in four women will be assaulted during their college career.” At first, the two were struck with disbelief. However after talking to many female college students, they discovered (to their surprise) that: 1. every female college student they talked to has felt unsafe while walking home alone at night and 2. every male college student they talked to had no idea this was even a problem.
So the duo started a small online platform where people could share their stories of sexual assault, which quickly went viral. They first shared the story of their friend, Nicole, and the next day they woke up to find three more stories in their inbox — people who had read Nicole’s story the night before and felt inspired to share their own. So they shared those stories, more came in, and they repeated this over and over until it snowballed and the platform was featured in The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, and others.
Immediately, the team started getting hundreds of emails pouring in of people telling them their stories, problems, and the solutions they wanted to see — something tangible, beyond the awareness movement. So they listened, and worked with survivors and supporters to develop a solution that integrated all of this feedback. And so began Ulzi.