Speaking out was never about exposing the man who assaulted me. Rather, it was about exposing my shame, letting it dry out in the sun. I did not wish to be contacted by him or to open a criminal investigation. I am in a loving and peaceful place in my life and I am not willing to sacrifice any more of it for this person I do not know, aside from one night I will never forget. That is my choice. …
When I finally chose to share my story, I did not do so in a vacuum. I was inspired by all the brave women who are now coming forward with their own experiences, despite the many risks associated with speaking out. Survivors are so often re-victimized by a system that demands they prove their purity and innocence. They are asked to provide an unassailable narrative when the event itself is hazy, fragmented, and unspeakable. They are isolated and betrayed by people close to them who doubt their reality or are frustrated by their inability to move on. Their most intimate experiences are made public property. …
I was ready to admit to the ways being sexually assaulted has shaped my sense of self as a woman entering adulthood, compromised my emotional security, and haunted me even during the most joyful periods of my life. I hoped I might inspire others to share, and that forming these connections would assist us all in healing.
Lena Dunham has penned a beautiful essay for Buzzfeed about her decision to write about being raped in college in her book Not That Kind Of Girl. The essay is written somewhat in response to conservative critics who have questioned the validity of her story and have gone out of their way to “disprove” it, including trying to track down the man who raped her. Yesterday, I told you about how one former classmate, who happens to be named “Barry,” the pseudonym used in the book, has been mistaken for Dunham’s attacker. Going forward, new printings of Not That Kind Of Girl will be more clear that “Barry” is a pseudonym; Dunham apologizes for the confusion at the beginning of the essay, calling the resemblance between Real Life Barry and Book Rapist Barry “an unfortunate and surreal coincidence.” Keep reading »
I don’t really want to paint sorrowful stuff, you know? Like, I get that out of my system. I guess what I was trying to say in the writing. You know, like “For The Roses” is really, you know, writing my sorrows. That’s probably the one. “Court and Spark” has got some of it. “Blue” has got some of it. That pocket. And then it kind of pulls out of there. But that’s when I really kind of addressed hurt. Those three projects…I’ve been through so much in the last five years, really hard stuff. And I’ve come through it kind of, oddly enough, still kind of in a good mood. I can’t explain it. [Laughs.] Maybe it’s just got so rotten, you know, like that there was no place else to go. So, no. I’m in a good space. I’m still in the middle of a bunch of really kind of sickening little wars, but generally I feel pretty happy, you know? It’s not that bad, you know. Things have been worse. I’ve been through so much in my life, you know…I’m a tough old cookie.
Music goddess Joni Mitchell, self-proclaimed “painter who happens to write songs,” once told a Toronto newspaper, “I sing my sorrow and paint my joy.” In an interview with NPR’s “Morning Edition” this week, Mitchell told co-host Renee Montagne that she likes to paint happy scenes and fill her home with joyful images, and Montagne asked whether Mitchell had given up sorrow and perhaps songwriting. Considering the melancholy lyrics that made her famous, I wouldn’t have expected this response. What an amazing spirit. She’s not a legend for nothing! [NPR] [Image via Getty]
In her debut memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl, there’s a scene in which Lena Dunham describes being raped by a fellow classmate when she was attending Oberlin College. The man is named “Barry” in the book and he’s described as the “campus’s resident conservative” who wore purple cowboy pants and worked at the library. Well, it turns out that aspects of Dunham’s description of Barry match that of a former student named Barry – who was a known conservative on campus –but this Barry maintains he is not the man who raped Dunham and that the two have never met. Obviously, that hasn’t stopped some people from assuming they are one in the same, which is why Real Life Barry hired a lawyer to contact Dunham and Random House about absolving him. (He also started a GoFundMe account to pay for his legal fees, which is referenced below.) Attorney Aaron Minc says that his attempts to reach Dunham and her publisher went ignored — until they threatened a lawsuit. So, yesterday, Random House released the following statement, clarifying that Rapist Barry was not actually named Barry at all and that future printings of the book will make that clear. Keep reading »