In her brand new memoir Not That Kind Of Girl, Lena Dunham has revealed that she was raped in college.
“There were a few things in this book that I was terrified to put into the world,” said Girls actor/creator Lena, 28, in a recent interview with NPR Books.
“The chapter about date rape in the book was a really, really terrifying thing for me to put into the world,” Dunham said.
“It was a painful experience physically and emotionally, and one I spent a long time trying to reconcile. At the time that it happened, it wasn’t something that I was able to be honest about. I was able to share pieces, but I sort of used the lens of humour, which has always been my default mode, to try to talk around it.”
The Emmy Award-winning star didn’t even know how to define the incident at the time, and blamed herself. “I think I had just felt that something was very wrong,” she said of her feelings following the event. “I had felt that something had happened and I remember thinking ‘Can I ever be the same?’… 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. But I knew that it wasn’t right and I knew in some way that this experience had been forced on me.”
“When I shared it with my best friend and she used the term ‘you were raped’ at the time, I sort of laughed at her and thought like, you know, what an ambulance-chasing drama queen. I later felt this incredible gratitude for her for giving me that… gift of that kind of certainty that she had. I think that a lot of times when I felt at my lowest about it, those words in some way actually lifted me up because I felt that somebody was justifying the pain of my experience.”
Lena says that the process of writing about the incident was liberating. “I said 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 still feel like myself and I feel less alone.”Her incredible bravery in talking about the rape is commendable.
Lena’s book, which was released in the US on September 30th, also talks about following her passions and lessons she learned, but in typical candid Lena fashion – littered with stories about diarrhoea while filming nude scenes, awkward sex, and more. Everything EXCEPT details of her relationship with her boyfriend Jack Antonoff, guitarist of popular band ‘Fun.’.
“I have written sentences about how the first time we made love it felt like dropping my keys on the table after a long trip … about the way he gathered me up after a long terrible day and put me to bed … about the fact that he is my family now. But surveying those words, I realized they are mine. He is mine to protect,” she writes.
Congratulations on the new book, Lena, and on always being inspirationally courageous.
Lena talks about her candid nature: