'It was painful - but most women experience worse victim blaming': Lena Dunham details the critical reaction to her alleged assault during Today show appearance
PUBLISHED: 13:08 EST, 7 January 2015 | UPDATED: 13:38 EST, 7 January 2015
Lena Dunham has responded to the media backlash surrounding her account of having been sexually assaulted by a college classmate in her recent memoir, but also acknowledged that she didn't experience the level of 'victim blaming' that many other woman do, due to her celebrity status.
During an appearance on the Today show Wednesday morning, the 28-year-old told Savannah Guthrie: 'It's a very, very painful thing to share an episode that personal and receive criticism, but what I received was only a small percentage of the doubt and victim blaming that most women who are sexually assaulted in this country experience.
'I am a celebrity with a platform and a lot of incredible support. Most women who come forward with accusations of sexual assault don't have those benefits, don't have my legal and emotional and financial supports. And so for me, I really feel that it enhanced my understanding of the cause and hopefully will make me a better advocate and activist in the future.'
Blaming the victim: Lena Dunham described the 'painful' media response to her account of sexual assault during an interview on the Today show this morning
In her book, Not That Kind of Girl, the Girls creator used a pseudonym to identify her alleged rapist, but her publisher, Random House, was forced to change the name from 'Barry' because of claims that the name and description fit an actual man who attended Oberlin College with Miss Dunham.
She subsequently penned an essay for Buzzfeed, in which she said she wished readers had honored the 'sensitive nature' of the subject rather than attempting 'to reopen these wounds' or 'deepen her trauma'.
'I have had my character and credibility questioned at every turn. I have been attacked online with violent and misogynistic language. Reporters have attempted to uncover the identity of my attacker despite my sincerest attempts to protect this information,' she wrote. Celebrity status: Miss Dunham also told Savannah Guthrie that it took some time to adjust to her newfound fame after the success of her hit HBO series
Miss Dunham also told Ms Guthrie that it took some time to adjust to her newfound fame after the success of her hit HBO series, which is now entering its fourth season. Once she came to the realization that 'anyone was paying attention', the scrutiny made her more restrained.
'I was so used to making my weird videos and prose poems in a bubble. I was just a weirdo college girl wearing neon leggings and doing my thing,' she said.
'It definitely took longer than a moment to adjust to the idea that what I said had any kind of impact. I think all of us girls on the show have really tried to find a way to channel our voices into causes and issues and projects that matter to us, so that we can make the attention matter and count, and that's the most important thing.'
The actress had more to say about the criticism that comes with fame in her newly released cover story in the February issue of Elle.
'I realized early on that I was not going to be able to have a comfortable relationship with celebrity if I didn't feel like I was using it to talk about things that were important to me,' she said. 'It was always going to make me feel gross, for lack of a better word. I was like, "Oh, this attention is something I'm going to figure out how to use in a way that feels productive, healthy, and smart. And not just like as an excuse to collect handbags." Although...I love handbags.'
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