Emily Lindin’s story beings in the sixth grade. She began developing a woman’s body before other classmates, and thus became a target for sexual objectification. The instigator of her slut shaming and tarnished reputation throughout her community came from a rumor spread by her boyfriend. This middle school scenario is so common for girls that intervention and protection has rarely been offered. Now many young women are ending their lives over being slut shamed before they have a chance to a live a life after high school. When Emily learned of yet another lost life to the emotional trauma of gang rape and victim blaming, she released her private diaries in a blog that has become an empowered community for young girls and women who are determined to end rape culture called THE UNSLUT PROJECT.

Emily’s determination to help others to build confidence in themselves as a way of alchemizing bullying is admirable, her courage to speak out about her own experience, exemplary. For any woman to be conditioned to believe that she deserves to be raped because she is enticing or dresses a certain way is the same volatile propellant that inspires Emily to speak out in peace, understanding, compassion and wisdom for all women who have been affected.

Emily has gained the attention of the media and has made appearances at TEDx Youth events, The Katie Couric Show, and now is prepared to show SLUT: A DOCUMENTARY FILM across the nation. Emily and I began our discussion with defining terms.

 

#FF: what is your definition of rape culture and slut shaming?
EL: Rape culture allows rape to not only take place often but to go unpunished. We all participate in it every time we laugh at a sexist joke or suggest that a woman is to blame for her own assault. Rape culture engenders slut shaming: implying that a woman should feel guilty or inferior for her real or imagined sexuality or sexual behavior.
#FF:  What do you believe is the root cause of a culture that does not stand behind victims of sex abuse?
EL: I don’t think it can be traced to one root cause – it’s wrapped up in deep cultural traditions of victim blaming. Part of that has to do with religious expectations, and a lot of it has to do with the teaching of “purity” as something that defines us – especially girls – as worthy of love and respect.

Shocking Statistics:

1 in 3 (33%) women are survivors of sexual violence or intimate partner violence. 

1 in 6 (17%) men are victims of sexual violence.

64% of transgender people have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime. 

Read more statistics here.


 

 
#FF:  Where have you seen the most growth in your work to raise awareness?
EL: I have heard from so many girls, some of them victims of sexual assault, who have read my diary and have connected to the other stories shared through The UnSlut Project – but those girls were, of course, already aware that sexual bullying was a problem. The most growth in terms of awareness of this issue has been with straight-identified men who never even considered that their words and actions – sometimes well-meaning but misguided – could have such a negative effect on the women in their lives. I love hearing from men whose minds have been opened through reading the experiences people have shared so bravely through this project.
 
 
#FF:  How have you healed from your own experience of slut shaming?
EL: Honestly, I healed slowly throughout high school and into college, and by the time I started The UnSlut Project I never thought much about the time in my life when I was the target of sexual bullying. In hindsight, I think I was able to overcome it because I focused on defining myself as the person I wanted to be – not a “slut” or anything else my classmates told me I was.
 
#FF:  What is the UnSlut Project?
EL: It’s a movement against sexual shaming, through personal story sharing. I started it by blogging my own middle school diary entries, word for word, and now it has grown into a supportive online community. So many people don’t realize they are complicit in creating a culture of shame for victims and women in general – and on the flip side of that, they don’t realize the power they have to make real change! The UnSlut Project encourages conversations and empathy – my hope is that soon, “slut” won’t even make sense as an insult.

How Can You Help?

1.) Join the UnSlut Project Community. 

2.) Educate your children. 

3.) Speak out against rape culture in your community.

For the LGBTQ Community:

1.) Speak out to end Corrective Rape.

2.) Support the safety of transgender citizens: Healthcare, well-being, acceptance.

3.)  Volunteer with RAINN: Rape and Incest National Network and give back.

Resources:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Sexual Assault Hotline

GLBT Hotline 

 

Are you an emerging creative entrepreneur? Submit your story to #FridayFive.

theanjananetwork@gmail.com 

“Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. The world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.”Marianne Williamson

Choose Love.

One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned about love is to just let go, to let it take you.

You can try to outrun the longings of your own soul, but eventually you will need to turn and face the possibility that everything in life is about love.

There is nothing else.  Just love.

And if you do not allow the jaws of life to rip open your chest and do surgery on your small heart, enlarging it and stretching it beyond what you think is possible, you will miss out on the tastiest, most juicy parts of life. You will plan the most wonderful party and forget to go. You will arrive just in time to clean up the mess and take out the trash.

The fact of the matter is, you will be half the person you were meant to be, if you don’t surrender yourself to love.

But.

It hurts.

It scares me. It reveals parts of me I don’t want anyone to see.

But.

It calls me out in my smallest moments.

It requires that I stand for something. It means I must step up and walk my talk.

But.

I am uncertain I want to be that vulnerable, that raw, that tender.

What if I give my heart to you and you hand it back to me, without comment.

Or worse, you look me over and say, “No thanks.”

What if I let this great rush of water take me, and I land on your doorstep, muddied, with sticks in my hair and half my clothes washed off?

What if you take one look at that hot mess and think, damn, I could do better than that.

But.

What if you don’t?

What if you take one look and say, “It’s you. Migod. You’re here. You’re finally here.”

***

What I know about love.

It’s the honeyed-water of life.

It makes everything softer, lighter, and more open.

I also know it takes a courageous heart to even attempt to walk into its currents. It’s not for the faint-hearted or lily-livered or for those who like remaining stuck inside the life raft, wearing their orange vests.

If you open to love, you’ll get wet.  If you dive in, you’ll be soaked.

Love is messy; that’s what makes it a cake you want to bake. 

Love is thumping your head against the wall and waking your neighbors and starting all the nearby dogs barking. Love is bumping and grinding and falling apart afterward and thinking, God damn! What was that?

Who left my hair matted and my heart pumping and my toes curled?

Oh, yes.

You, love.  You.

***

Love is also quiet. Angry. Bored. Spiteful.

Love can be a troublesome little f*ck.

Often, it will stand on your last nerve, just for shits and giggles.

It will ask you for more than you ever thought you could possibly give.

Love is the ultimate self-improvement course. It is continuing-ed and life-long learning rolled into one. It is trial by fire and poop patrol and ‘I-can’t-believe-I-have-to-do-this’ spiritual practice.

Love is sacred surrender.

Love will shape you into a vessel that can withstand anything.

No matter how difficult your journey toward love is, it is something you do not want to miss.

It will forge a version of you that you could never become without it.

Risk it.

Risk your heart.

Risk everything and be glad.

When the ground rises to meet your face, you have been awarded an opportunity.

  • You are in the process of becoming more resilient.
  • You have the opportunity to rise to the next occasion.
  • This is the place where boundaries become more defined.
  • Courage can only be cultivated in suffering.
  • You serve to teach others through your humility.

 Contemplate:

What do you to when your ego tells you to conceal your scrapes? 

Every challenge we face is surmountable.

  • Life is nothing without challenges, so take them on like a badass.
  • Be careful that victim mentality does not plant the seeds of limiting belief.
  • Use your pain as a pathway to a better version of you.
  • Connect to the journey through surrender.

Learn More:

JD + ANJANA = THE PORTALS

The Portals supa

LISTEN TO THE NEW SINGLE:

LOVE U BETTER

9.17.14