In 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.
Watch the trailer here.
The screening will be followed by a discussion facilitated by Maia Cudhea.
Maia is an instructor in the Women's & Gender Studies Program. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2003, and her M.S. from the University of North Texas in 2007 (both in Sociology), and has been teaching at UNT since 2007 (including courses such as Race Class Gender & Ethnicity, Sociology of Sexuality, Gender & Society, Social Problems, & Social Stratification), and in the Women's & Gender Studies Program since 2011.