2013, seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons took her own life. The Halifax
teenager had been gang-raped a year and a half earlier by her
classmates and labeled a “slut” as a result. Despite transferring
schools many times, she could not escape constant cyber harassment and
in-person bullying. Rehtaeh’s is not the only story like this to make
headlines in recent years. Why is the sexual shaming of girls and women,
especially sexual assault victims, still so prevalent in the United
States and Canada?
UnSlut: A Documentary Film features conversations with those
who have experienced sexual shaming, including the family and friends
of Rehtaeh Parsons. We also spoke with Samantha Gailey Geimer, who was
publicly shamed by the media after being sexually assaulted by director
Roman Polanski at the age of thirteen in 1977; Gina Tron, who wrote
about her experience being shamed out of pursuing charges against a
serial rapist in Brooklyn, New York; N’Jaila Rhee, who coped with her
sexual assault and the subsequent loss of support from her family and
church by reclaiming her sexuality as a “cam girl”; and Allyson Pereira,
who was ostracized in her New Jersey town after texting a photo of her
breasts to an ex-boyfriend.
Through interviews with sexuality experts, advocates, and media figures, UnSlut: A Documentary Film
explores the causes and manifestations of sexual shaming in North
America and offers immediate and long-term goals for personal, local,
and institutional solutions.