When Emily Lindin was just 11 years old, her peers labeled her as a “slut.” This four-letter word impacted her life in ways she could have never imagined, and became the inspiration for the UnSlut Project, an anti sexual bullying and slut shaming support resource to help other girls escape the shame.
The UnSlut Project promotes gender equality, sex positivity, and comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education. The mission of the UnSlut Project is to “undo the dangerous sexual bullying and slut shaming in our schools, communities, media, and culture.”
Emily developed earlier than most girls her age, making her a target for bullying by schoolmates. After an isolated sexual encounter with a boy, he called her a “slut,” even though he was an active participant in the encounter. She lost her friends and became isolated, and by the age of 12, had attempted to end her life.
Emily found her way with family support and professional help, but so many young women aren’t as lucky.
I’d like my daughter to grow up in a world where “slut” doesn’t even make sense as an insult, where the media and communities do not further abuse rape victims, and where a woman can choose to be sexually active (or sexually passive) without shame.
When Emily heard about the tragic suicides of girls who were sexually bullied and harassed like Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd, and Audrie Pott, she was devastated – and reminded of her own experiences.
“I would have loved to have some reassurance that this time would pass, and my life would get better. So I decided to create The UnSlut Project in the hopes that I could provide some perspective to girls who currently feel trapped and ashamed,” Emily explains.
To launch her project, Emily published journal entries that she had saved from the ages of 11-14. These entries were posted online without changing a single word, except for the names of the people involved. Emily also added a bit of commentary to show the relief of her current perspective, over a decade later.
In addition to the diary entries, Emily has expanded the UnSlut Project to include a collaborative space for women and girls to share their personal experiences with sexual bullying, slut shaming and other related issues. With women and girls posting from around the world, the UnSlut Project exposes the prevalence of this growing, global problem.
To change the trend of slut shaming, Emily believes it’s up to the adults, “It is up to each of us to evaluate and take responsibility for our own assumptions and interactions with others. Our daughters and sons are listening and learning from us, and we need to set good examples for them, so they can respect women.”