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‘When I was raped I felt powerless’; Lena Dunham opens up about sexual assault

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Lena Dunham has given an impassioned speech about sexual assault at Variety's Power of Women event in New York. 

Speaking about activist Rachel Lloyd, who set up Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), in a bid to aid young girls who have been victims of the commercial sexual traffic trade, the actress also opened up about the time she was raped. 

 “When I was raped I felt powerless. I felt my worth had been determined by someone else,” she told the audience. 

The Girls creator first revealed she had been raped in her memoir Not That Kind of Girl. The incident occurred while the 28-year-old was a student at Oberlin college in Ohio, however it took nearly a decade before the star felt she could tell her story.

 “I felt my value had been determined by someone else. It took years to recognize my personal worth was not tied to my assault. The voices telling me I deserved this were phantoms, liars.”

There was controversy when the sexual assault came to light as the name Lena gives her assailant in her book, Barry, wasn't clearly marked as a pseudonym. This led to a a man named Barry who attended Oberlin said he was misidentified as the "Barry" in Dunham's memoir even though he had never met her.

Publishers Random House have since said they would ensure that future editions of the tome would be clearly marked. 

In response to the controversy, Lena stated that her intention was never to reveal her attacker. 

“Speaking out was never about exposing the man who assaulted me,” she wrote for Buzzfeed. "Rather, it was about exposing my shame, letting it dry out in the sun. I did not wish to be contacted by him or to open a criminal investigation.”

“When I finally chose to share my story, I did not do so in a vacuum. I was inspired by all the brave women who are now coming forward with their own experiences, despite the many risks associated with speaking out.”

“I have been made to feel, on multiple occasions, as though I am to blame for what happened. But I don't believe I am to blame. I don't believe any of us who have been raped and/or assaulted are to blame.”

“I simply cannot allow my story to be used to cast doubt on other women who have been sexually assaulted.”


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