Lena Dunham Discusses Critics Who Questioned Her Rape, And Victim Blaming

Lena Dunham appeared on the Today Show to promote the upcoming season of her HBO hit series Girls, but quickly into the conversation, the segment turned to her memoir Not That Kind of Girl.

The Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie asked about the criticism she received, particularly from critics who didn’t believe her rape story. Dunham gave a lengthy and poised response to the people who “attempted to discredit” her brave story, which was written to help other victims who don’t have a platform to stand on.

Lena didn’t make her response about her, but instead highlighted the fact that she’s in a very fortunate position and has other options that the millions of victims that suffer from guilt and shaming every day don’t have.

“It’s a very very painful thing to share an episode that person and receive criticism, but what I received was only a small percentage of the doubt and victim-blaming that most women who are sexually assaulted in this country experience.”

“Most women who come forward with accusations of sexual assault don’t have those benefits. [They] don’t have my legal and emotional and financial supports, and so for me I really feel like it enhanced my understanding of the cause and hopefully will make me a better advocate and activist in the future.”

Unfortunately, the larger discussion to crop up about Dunham’s rape story is a pending case against the writer from a former student, who has the same fictional name as her accused rapist, and is a dead ringer in physical appearance. Barry, the former student — and not Dunham’s rapist — has started a fund to pay for his legal fees as he prepares to sue Lena for damages.

This isn’t the first time Dunham has spoken about critics who set out to tear her rape story apart. Earlier, Lena penned an essay on Buzzfeed.

“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. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what is written about me individually, but I simply cannot allow my story to be used to cast doubt on other women who have been sexually assaulted.”

[Image via HBO]