Part 3

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By the beginning of 2015, The UnSlut Project was making a lot of progress. "Slut" shaming was on its way to becoming a household term, and I began booking lectures and workshops around North America to start conversations within schools and communities. Stories of personal experiences were being submitted daily from women who had survived sexual bullying, and I began posting other Wattpad users' experiences as part of the "Your UnSlut Project" collection.

For nearly two years, since giving that first interview as Emily Lindin, it felt like my life had consisted of jumping off cliff after cliff. Every new initiative related to The UnSlut Project required a decision to just go for it, without knowing what waited for me below. Even though it never became any easier to guess what I'd find when I landed, I became confident that whatever it was, I would be able to handle it. For the most part, I was no longer afraid of the backlash from people who didn't believe in stopping "slut" shaming, or who personally attacked me for speaking out. Any anger or harassment directed at me for trying to change this part of our culture was, I figured, just proof of the problem.

With that said, there were times I was grateful to be using a pseudonym for a reason I hadn't anticipated: my own physical safety. Any woman using an online platform to write or otherwise share her voice publicly will tell you that the Internet is a deeply misogynist place. Even women covering topics that have nothing to do with sex are the targets of gendered harassment. Since my activism focused on "slut" shaming, I was the recipient of many sexist emails, tweets, and messages from people who just wanted me to shut up and stop trying to change things.

On a couple of occasions, certain people pieced together enough information about my life to make specific threats or to actually find me. After receiving a text message from a man who told me he was going to come to the UC Santa Barbara campus to find me and hurt me, I was told by a police officer to "calm down," because I was clearly "overreacting." One time, while staying in Toronto for a speaking engagement, I was awoken by someone aggressively trying to get into my hotel room. They had used the key card successfully, but their entry was blocked by the deadbolt. When I called down to the front desk for help, I was told that they had given a key card to a man who claimed to be "Emily Lindin's husband." After that, feeling a bit paranoid but not unjustified, I began to carry pepper spray with me wherever I went, just in case.

So 2015 came around, and I still hadn't made it public knowledge that I was leading a double life as Emily Lindin. The "inner circle" of people from my everyday life who knew about The UnSlut Project had, of course, expanded, but I started feeling like it was time to make some kind of announcement. Zest Books was set to publish my book, UnSlut: A Diary and a Memoir, at the end of the year, and I knew that once the publicity campaign started, many of the people I had written about in my diary would quickly figure out what was going on.

In addition to the upcoming book, I was working on the second crowd-funding campaign for UnSlut: A Documentary Film. One of my best friends, Jessica, happens to have a background in filmmaking. Back in the summer of 2013, I had gotten the idea to reach a broader audience with the UnSlut message by making a documentary film. I enlisted Jessica's help and we ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for production. After spending a year and a half traveling around North America to interview people about their experiences with "slut" shaming - including the family of Rehtaeh Parsons, one of the girls whose suicides had inspired me to start The UnSlut Project in the first place - I realized we'd need to run another crowd-funding campaign, this time on the platform Seed & Spark, in order to complete post-production.

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