The word is charged. Whatever your take on it, your version, your definition of the label, “slut” isn’t meant lightly, even when it’s tossed off in a single-word spoken sentence or posted online in an internet second. You could say that you just mean it affectionately among friends, or even that you’re proudly reclaiming the word—these are arguably viable uses--but for the majority of people, it’s a word intended to hurt, control, judge, and defame, just as slut shaming is an action taken to make someone feel guilty for “real or perceived sexual behavior.”
What does slut shaming have to do with bullying? Everything. If you use the dictionary definition, “slut” targets women and girls, but in reality, it’s a pervasive form of bullying that affects cisgender and transgender girls, boys, women, and men of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities. It can follow someone around from school to school and attach itself to them in their community. And it can be very hard to get police or legal action against it, especially in a culture that sustains the belief that the victim deserves both the label and the shame.
The UnSlut Project hopes to change all this. Horrified by the suicides brought on by slut shaming, founder Emily Lindin created a collaborative space for people to read each other’s experiences and share their own stories about sexual bullying and slut shaming. Encompassing issues such as revenge porn, cyberbullying, suicide, and self-harm, the project seeks to spread awareness and educate people about the long-term damage such bullying can cause.
As Lindin says, “It is up to each of us to evaluate and take responsibility for our own assumptions and interactions with others.”
Beyond evaluating and taking responsibility for your assumptions and actions, how can you help extend the message that slut shaming is not okay? Click to view the UnSlut Project, and also read Lindin’s article, “5 Ways You Can Stop Slut Shaming Today.”

Check out Emily's profile in our School Bullying Prevention Difference Makers—31 for 31.