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When She Was In Middle School, They Called Her A 'Slut.' Here's How She Resolved It.

She started the UnSlut Project and found out people wanted to tell their story too.

When She Was In Middle School, They Called Her A 'Slut.' Here's How She Resolved It.

Meet Emily Lindin. When Emily was in middle school, she got the reputation for being "the school slut."

She got the reputation not because she was promiscuous, but because some bullies decided to label her that way ... and it stuck.

She was just your average girl, trying to get through a phase in life many of us had a hard time with, too.


Emily graduated, grew up, and moved on with her life.

But in 2013, she was reminded of what happened to her after hearing about the suicides of some young women who had similar experiences.

She decided to publish her personal diary entries from ages 11 to 14.

She remembered feeling ashamed and not comfortable talking with her parents. She also remembered her own suicidal thoughts, so she wanted to comfort other people who also felt trapped. Emily's blog grew fast!

Girls, women, and men of many ages, backgrounds, and nationalities all wanted to share their stories too.

Even professional wrestler and feminist Mick Foley jumped on board. They all wanted to provide hope to young people who are suffering and demonstrate just how widespread the issues of sexual bullying and slut-shaming really are.

You can read Emily's blog at The UnSlut Project, and if you're interested, you can also contribute to her movie, "Slut: A Documentary Film."

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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This article originally appeared on 08.30.14


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