I will never understand the amount of hate that exists on the internet, nor why Girls creator Lena Dunham receives so much of it. However, there's one thing that Dunham will not allow her online trolls to do, and that's shame her into silence — which is exactly what one troll attempted to do when he alleged that she had "made up" her rape allegation.
The actress, writer, and Lenny Letter co-founder published her memoir Not That Kind Of Girl in 2014, in which she described being raped by a classmate at Oberlin College. In February of 2017, the HBO star wrote a moving essay about what it means to be a sexual assault survivor, which was published in Lenny Letter.
Dunham recently came out in support of the dozens of women who alleged movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed them, posting a note on Instagram stating the report was "horrifying." Her apparent advocacy for other survivors was what led one troll to claim that Dunham had lied about her own rape.
"You made up a rape story," said the unnamed troll in Dunham's Instagram comments. Dunham shared a screenshot of the comment, then wrote a powerful message in the caption of the post.
Sadly, Dunham stated, this kind of comment was hardly new.
"This is what my social media mentions are like every day. I've gotten used to it, I keep moving and I consider these people sad leftovers from a bygone era when female sexuality was caged and these pathetic basement dwellers were the gatekeepers," Dunham wrote on Instagram.
"But this week, as so many brave women/people come forward with stories of assault, I want you all to remember what they are facing: yes, some gorgeous applause and sisterhood. I wish I could focus only on that. But also a lot of surprising and cruel reactions by people who don't deserve the publicity."
She added that survivors face a particularly difficult road when discussing their past assaults.
"When I disclosed my rape 3 years ago I was ignorant- I assumed (despite having been in the eye of the storm before) that you share a painful story and people say 'hey, we may not agree on everything but fuck I hate that this happened to you.' That isn't often the experience of coming forward with assault, which is why I am endlessly and eternally proud of the women who have spoken up, those I know and those I don't. All love. This is just the beginning."
Dunham tackled rape culture in the final season of Girls. In the episode "American Bitch," her character, Hannah, met with an author accused of sexual assault to discuss the allegations against him, only to be pressured into a sexual encounter.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call theRAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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