I am a woman in my late twenties with a full, satisfying life. I live with my wonderful partner, I love my work, I have supportive friends and colleagues, and I maintain a great relationship with my parents. But about a year ago, during a visit to my childhood home, I discovered my old journals from fifteen years ago and was transported back to a time of intense shame and isolation.
When I was eleven years old, I was branded a “slut” by my classmates. For the next few years of my life, I was harassed incessantly at school, after school, and online. I decided to create The UnSlut Project in the hopes that by publishing my own diary entries, I could provide some perspective to girls who are going through something similar right now.
Here is one of Emily’s diary entries as published on The UnSlut Project.
March 12, 1998
Today in gym, Zach was sitting next to Maggie on the bleachers and I was sitting on the other side of her. Maggie was making a paper fortune teller. Zach and I started talking, and it started off as us throwing insults at each other but soon we got to something meaningful. Zach said, “You’re such a bitch!” [Like I said… something meaningful.]I said, “You act as if I did something wrong to you!” He said, “You did! You act all PMS-y towards me, telling me to fuck off.” I screamed, “Well, you used me!” “No, I didn’t!” “Then why did you all of a sudden hate me after we went to third base?”Matt walked by and snickered, “Hump ’em and dump ’em, right, Zach?” [Again, Matt with the perfect comedic timing.]Zach looked at me pleadingly and said, “I never said that.” I glared at him. He said, “Fine, you don’t believe me?” I could tell he was getting mad, so I said softly, “No, I believe you.” He smiled. “Good.” [I’d like to point out that this entire exchange took place over Maggie, who was just trying to make a fortune teller.]After school, he called me. He informed me that we were still going out: “I never officially dumped you.” I sighed, “Well, when you called me a whore you pretty much dumped me, and if you didn’t, then I’d only be in my right mind to dump you.”
He said, “Fine, then dump me.” “No…” “Why not?” “I don’t know how to dump someone.” “Just say, ‘I don’t want to go out with you anymore.’” “But I can’t…” “Okay.” He gave up.Then I confessed to him that I am bulimic (even though I am not) and so he decided to try to make himself throw up. I don’t know if he succeeded. So we’re on good terms now.
[I’m not sure what part of this last bit is the strangest: that I lied about being bulimic, that it could possibly be unclear whether the person on the other end of the phone had thrown up or not; or that this exchange somehow signified to me that we were “on good terms now.”]