What is the #Unshamed Project?
The Unshamed Project is a viral campaign designed to offer solace and support to victims of online shaming. The project was inspired specifically by the brutal effects of non consensual sharing of intimate media (more commonly but misleadingly referred to as “revenge porn”) but applies to many forms of internet shaming.
Anyone and everyone can contribute to the project. Participants vlog, tweet and post about their most shameful experiences using #Unshamed, in a bid to flood the internet with #Unshamed stories, diluting the intensity of the shame that victims feel by demonstrating that everyone has something to be ashamed of, even if they have been lucky enough to avoid being chastened for it on the internet. By voluntarily sharing their #Unshamed stories, participants own their feelings of shame, removing the power of anyone else to shame them and evidencing solidarity with victims.
How do I watch #Unshamed videos?
UnshamedProject.com hosts a number of #Unshamed videos on the #Unshamed Videos page. We will be adding more as the project continues. You can also search for further videos on all social media platforms using #Unshamed. As more people participate in the project the number of #Unshamed videos available on social media will increase.
How do I contribute my #Unshamed story?
Simply record your #Unshamed story and upload it to your social media platform of choice quoting #Unshamed. This can be a YouTube/vimeo video, or a Facebook/Instagram/blog post or even a tweet. Using #Unshamed will connect your contribution with the project and make it easy to find.
Are there any guidelines?
- Please do not include names of other people in your story - the project is about owning our own shame, not shaming anybody else.
- It's obviously not a good idea to share a story that is likely to get you into trouble with the authorities!
- It's important that you understand that by voluntarily sharing your #Unshamed story you are contributing to the project and helping to "unshame" victims of internet shaming but you are responsible for your own post. You can take down your post at any time but please be aware that once it is out there anyone can see it.
- Your #Unshamed story is your own choice: perhaps it was a mistake you made, an unfortunate accident, a misunderstanding, a wardrobe malfunction, a betrayal, or a badly timed bodily function. The possibilities are endless!
- It's particularly helpful to include a mention of how you came to deal with the shame, how you got over it and moved on with your life.
Where did the #Unshamed Project come from?
Scotland-based writer Belle Jones was deeply troubled by the tragic true story of a girl who was so relentlessly shamed after naked photographs of her were shared online that she took her own life. “I had a bodily reaction to reading this story. I felt a dull sickness in the pit of my stomach, imagining what this young person had gone through. I just wished I could have given her a big hug and told her everything will be OK.” Jones says.
As she researched the subject further, Jones discovered hundreds of similar stories and the shocking statistic that 50% of “revenge porn” victims contemplate suicide. She began writing a play called Shame, grappling with the question of how it might be possible to convince a victim of this sort of public shaming that they can get through it and that there are hundreds of sympathisers out there who wish them well. Jones wanted to accentuate the fact that just as new media can be used to humiliate and destroy people, it can also be harnessed to spread positivity and allow individuals to show support for people they have never met but empathise with.
Over the course of writing Shame, Jones came up with the idea of the #Unshamed Project, and one of the characters in the play insitgates the project to comfort another character who has been shamed after intimate footage of her goes viral. After a work in progress performance of Shame, Jones received so much positive feedback about the #Unshamed idea that she gathered a team together to make the project a reality outside of the fictional world of the play.
The #Unshamed Project launched in June 2017 and will be supported by a run of the play which initiated it, Shame at the Assembly Studios George Square at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.