(5/12/14) There’s been a lot in the news lately about bullying and the potentially catastrophic consequences associated to it. While the concept itself is hardly new, the combination of recent high profile calamities related to bullying along with an explosion of new media coverage serving to raise awareness have modernized both the problem and the response–and some responses have been brilliantly innovative.
One such positive effort, The UnSlut Project, is the brainchild of Harvard alum and Ph.D. candidate, Emily Lindin. Employing a wide variety of social and electronic media resources, Lindin has managed to harness it all towards a singular focus: Combating sexual bullying. The project, begun Spring of 2013 in response to her own experiences as a victim while in grade school, started as a means for her to share excerpts from her own diaries to benefit others, but quickly evolved into a collaboration with many others committed to stemming the tide against bullying. Today, Lindin’s project has expanded to promote gender equality, sex positivity and comprehensive sex education for all ages and is receiving solid attention from traditional media and academic/therapeutic communities.
With the sharp uptick in using cyberspace as a vicious bullying tool, it’s an irony of sorts that Lindin has managed to turn the tables and craft an effective opposing strategy utilizing many of the same platforms. In addition to its own primary website, the project has occupied online spaces such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr and Wattpad; and has received a lot of support through several YouTube channels, including an exceptional TEDx presentation recently held in Toronto. Additionally, she successfully used virtual crowdfunding through Kickstarter in order to finance an upcoming movie entitled, “Slut: A Documentary Film.” Directed by Jessica Caimi, it will chronicle the extent of sexual bullying and slut shaming in schools, media and culture along with presenting steps for working toward significant change. Currently under production, it will feature the stories of girls who were driven to suicide by sexual bullying, interviews with women who have experienced the effects of slut shaming in their own lives and the opinions of media figures, sexologists, psychologists and other experts.
The real beauty of Lindin’s efforts lies in the evolution from a simple idea (to courageously share her own experiences) into a growing community of active participants committed to doing the same–all with the eventual goal of demonstrating positive strategies to and support for sexual bullying victims. It’s leadership-by-example of the finest kind and a true success story in a battle of good over bad. If you would like to join that effort, you can get more information and offer your support through their primary web site, on their Facebook page or through their Twitter feed. Also, please consider sharing this article throughout your circles and help make a positive difference.