Lena Dunham wants to fight the shame and stigma surrounding sexual assault by taking control of her own narrative. Last Friday, Dunham spoke about her own sexual assault at Variety 's Power of Women lunch in New York City, where she was honored for her work with GEMS, "an organization that works to empower girls who fell into human trafficking." During her acceptance speech, Dunham said she hopes sharing her story will help "give voice to other survivors." Dunham explained, "When I was raped, I felt powerless. I felt my value had been determined by someone else, someone who sent me the message that my body was not my own and my choices were meaningless." She added, "It took years to recognize my personal worth was not tied to my assault. The voices telling me I deserved this were phantoms, they were liars."
According to People, Dunham first shared the story of her experience with sexual assault in her book Not That Kind Of Girl. "As a feminist and as a sexual assault survivor," she told attendees at the Variety event, my ultimate goal is to use my experience, my platform, and yes, my privilege, to reverse stigma and give voice to other survivors." Dunham also addressed critics' suggestions that her largely autobiographical work makes her seem self-centered, and explained her decision to partner with GEMS. "Trauma can make us narcissistic and myopic, turning us inward as we struggle with what we have seen, felt, and repressed," she said. "But connecting with other survivors reopens our world. Instead of scrambling for power by silencing other women, we're able to mutually strengthen each other through collaboration and support."