Lena Dunham is often called out for the frequency and graphic nature of sex on her HBO television show "Girls."
But in Dunham's new memoir, "Not That Kind of Girl," the actress, writer and producer opens up to her fans in a new way. Dunham reveals that she was raped while attending Oberlin College.
In the essay Girls & Jerks, Dunham remembers a confusing night with a male student she calls the "campus Republican."
Coming home from a party with the man, Dunham was intoxicated from a mix of muscle relaxants and alcohol. When she stopped for a moment to pee, the "campus Republican" sexually assaulted her.
He jams a few of his fingers inside me, like he’s trying to plug me up. I’m not sure whether I can’t stop it or I don’t want to.
Later that night, the student forced Dunham to have sex without her consent.
She says the shock of the night took her a long time to mentally examine, writing,
I told him he should probably go, chucking his hoodie and boots out the door with him. The next morning, I sat in a shallow bath for half an hour like someone in one of those coming-of-age movies.
The next day, Dunham recounted the story to her friend, who told her that she was describing rape.
She initially laughed, but years later, her cowriters told her the same thing when she tried to pitch the story for the show.
Dunham tried to justify the man's actions by explaining how confusing the night had been.
But after years of misery, Dunham has finally begun to cope with what happened.
I never gave him permission to be rough, to stick himself inside me without a barrier between us. I never gave him permission. In my deepest self I know this, and the knowledge of it has kept me from sinking.
Critics of both Dunham and "Girls" who accuse the young writer of vapidity will think twice after hearing her story. Thousands of young women see Dunham as a role model and a courageous voice.
By sharing her rape with the public, Dunham has given her fans one more reason to share their own stories.