‘Not ashamed’

Councilwoman gets last word against ‘anonymous coward’ who slut-shamed her in bid to end candidacy

Councilwoman Rachel Hundley (YouTube)

A local councilwoman in California has drawn widespread support and praise after she called out an “anonymous coward” who threatened to spread racy photographs posted to her social media accounts unless she agreed to drop out of her November reelection race. Councilwoman Rachel Hundley, a 35-year-old former mayor of Sonoma, said she received an anonymous email denouncing her as “immoral and unethical” and warning her that if she didn’t drop her reelection campaign a website called “Rachel Hundley Exposed” would go live. The website, which has since been disabled, contained accusations and criticism from Hundley’s time as mayor, as well as photos mined from her social media accounts that showed her in a bra and underwear at Burning Man, the famous Nevada arts and music festival.

Ignoring the advice of many of her advisers and friends, Hundley decided to speak out about the letter in a YouTube video that has drawn upwards of 128,000 views as of Wednesday.

“The email included a link, and what I found was a combination of outright lies and things I’ve proudly posted on social media. What was especially disturbing in this era of #MeToo was the attempt to slutshame for celebrating my body and for my attendance at Burning Man, an internationally renowned arts and culture festival and an event I’ve proudly and openly attended,” said Hundley in the video.

“Instead of challenging me on my votes, this website relies on unfounded accusations and slutshaming. It’s purpose is to make me afraid, to silence another strong female voice by scaring me out of this election and denying you the right to make a choice,” she continued. “My family is being threatened for who I am friends with and for what I choose to wear. For too long it has been seen as okay to control women by dictating what is acceptable for us to wear, say and do … I am here today to tell my faceless bullies that I cannot be shamed into quitting because I am not ashamed.”

Since her decision to address her accuser head on, Hundley says she’s seen an outpouring of support from her community.

“I believe that talking about this happening removes all of the power that it has,” she said. “Once that video was released into the Internet ether, I felt like I’d done what I needed to.”

Unsurprisingly, Hundley is hardly the first woman politician to endure such underhanded tactics. More than 40 percent of women surveyed in legislatures around the world said that they had contended with the distribution of “extremely humiliating or sexually charged images,” according to a 2016 Inter-Parliamentary Union survey.

Watch Hundley’s video statement about the email below.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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