Lena Dunham 'Spent So Much Time Ashamed' Following Her Rape

Illustration for article titled Lena Dunham 'Spent So Much Time Ashamed' Following Her Rape

In her new memoir Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham reveals that she was sexually assaulted while she was an undergrad at Oberlin College. "I was at a party, drunk, waiting for attention. And somehow that felt like such a shameful starting off point that I didn't know how to reconcile what had come after," she recalled to Terry Gross in a recent episode of NPR's Fresh Air.


"It was a painful experience physically and emotionally and one I spent a long time trying to reconcile. ... I actually [have] been thinking about it a lot this week because I sent an email to somebody who I had known at that time who knew the guy who had perpetrated the act. ... I wanted to make it clear to this old friend what I felt had happened before he potentially bought the book at Hudson News and read about it," she told Gross.

Dunham continued:

I hated the idea of somebody finding out that information [independently of me telling them] because at the time that it happened, it wasn't something I was able to be honest about. I was able to share pieces, but I used the lens of humor, which has always been my default-mode to try to talk around it.

I said to this old friend in an email, "I spent so much time scared; I spent so much time ashamed. I don't feel that way anymore and it's not because of my job, it's not because of my boyfriend, it's not because of feminism, though all those things helped. It's because I told the story. And I'm still here, and my identity hasn't shifted in some way that I can't repair. And I still feel like myself and I feel less alone."

Dunham's willingness to share her story will undoubtedly be a great comfort to many young women who have been victimized under similar circumstances. According to RAINN, 1 in every 6 American women has been a victim of sexual assault.

Image via Getty.



I dislike Lena Dunham as much as the next person, but can we please have the courtesy to believe her story and sympathize?

So many people are discrediting her because they don't like her. Rape doesn't discriminate, so neither should we.