Lena Dunham retreated after rape

Lena Dunham Lena Dunham stopped drinking and going to parties after she was raped. The Girls creator was sexually attacked while studying at Oberlin college in Ohio and admits the aftermath saw her ”remove herself from the social world” in a bid to stay safe. The emotional trauma she suffered from the incident deeply affected her emotionally and dramatically altered her remaining college years. She said, ”I didn’t really go to anymore parties. I basically didn’t have a drink for the rest of college… I really removed myself from that world. I don’t know if I would’ve told you at the time, ‘Oh, I’m doing this to keep myself safe,’ but obviously in hindsight… I basically removed myself from the social world as I’d known it.”

Lena told NPR’s Terry Gross: ”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 humor, which has always been my default mode, to try to talk around it.”

And Lena admits sharing her story with her best friend, who bluntly told her she had been raped, helped ”lift” her and get over the shocking attack. She said: ”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, 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.”

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Bryanna • October 2, 2014 @ 2:24 PM

    I don’t understand how you can be raped and only after your best friend tells you you were, that you know you were. Did she think it was consensual before that? This just makes her sound really weak.

  2. Alexandria • October 2, 2014 @ 2:46 PM


    Not weak at all. Sometimes survivors of rape, and abuse almost downplay what happened to them. Sometimes it’s denial, and it can also be caused by shock. Sometimes it may not be clear to the victim if what happened to them was rape or not. You often put some of the blame on yourself.

  3. Angel • October 2, 2014 @ 11:06 PM

    bryanna, youre really rude. i was forced to sleep with someone, i have never been able to use the term “rape”. who are you to judge someone and call them “weak” after they have suffered? everyone goes through things and deals with them differently, if you are ever raped, maybe youll learn how to be nicer to people who have suffered.

  4. Bryanna • October 3, 2014 @ 10:18 AM

    Angel, if that were ever to happen to me, I would be screaming it loud and immediately to the police and I would say I was raped. I don’t know how you can say you were forced to sleep with someone. That’s rape. Unless you weren’t forced, but were wishy washy and feel like you didn’t make yourself clear to the man in question. Make it clear! Say an absolute no! I guess I don’t get the confusion or why victims don’t stand up and point a finger at the perpetrator and instead withdraw. Point a finger – it’ll make you feel better to know justice is being done. Please get rape counselling if you feel like you’ve been victimized so you can start to feel strong and in control.

  5. Angel • October 3, 2014 @ 5:44 PM

    I was forced. I just don’t like the word rape therefore I wont use it. I was pretty clear, while I was fighting to hold my pants on while he was ripping them off. its not as clear cut for some of us. he was my “best friends” cousin. I was friends with her for 10 years, I wasn’t willing to lose a friendship over it, even though eventually, I did.

  6. Bryanna • October 6, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

    If he tore off your clothing and forced you, you were raped. If you want to refuse to use the word, that hurts you because when you refuse to say I was raped, the rapist gets away with it, doesn’t he? And you allowed a rapist to walk free and do that to countless of other girls. Shame on you. And if you thought your best friend would stick by her rapist cousin instead of his victim (you, her “best friend”) then she was never your friend to begin with.

  7. Bryanna • October 6, 2014 @ 11:07 AM

    Seriously, women need to grow some balls. This bullshit is totally unacceptable when woman are too bloody timid to stand up and say, this douche raped me and should be behind bars. Speak up for God’s sake! Don’t be saying “Well, if you were raped you’d have a different view…” Yeah, and if I get raped it’s because weenies like you didn’t hold these assholes accountable and let the police deal with them. If they’re not punished, they feel it’s perfectly acceptable to rape.

  8. Angel • October 7, 2014 @ 6:17 PM

    Get off your high horse, not everyone has to have the same opinion as you, and as I said before, until YOU are in this situation you have NO IDEA what your course of action would be. Unless you have suffered from anxiety or a fear of leaving your house, unless you have suffered from crippling depression and from low self esteem (to the point you actually believed you deserved what happened to you) then you really should shut your big mouth. I am soo glad you can tell people how they SHOULD act in certain situations. Do you have children? You sound like one of those childless women who run around forcing their parenting techniques down everyone’s throat. If you haven’t went through this, you have no business commenting. Also, it shows what kind of person you are, insulting rape victims because they can’t (for whatever reason) report what happened to them. I don’t wish harm on anyone, but when you do suffer (since karma does get people like you) I wish I could be around to throw it back in your face and call you names. Too bad I am more classy than that.

  9. Jane • November 2, 2014 @ 6:17 PM

    Rough, unpleasant regrettable sex. Not rape. Irritating beyond belief. Dunham is just so SOLEMN. I get so tired of her reverence for feminist doctrine and political correctness. Unless he held a gun/knife/to her head or brutally attacked her, she was merely made uncomfortable. In my single years there were plenty of unfortunate experiences that I’m pretty sure the guys involved were equally disgusted by … just a part of being out there and taking sexual freedom for granted.

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