- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lena Dunham accepted an award Friday at Variety’s Power of Women luncheon in New York City, using the opportunity to recount a sexual assault she allegedly experienced by a Republican student nearly a decade ago while attending Oberlin College.

“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,” said Ms. Dunham, 28, who was honored for her work with GEMS, an organization that works to empower girls who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking, People reported.

“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,” the “Girls” star continued. “As a feminist and as a sexual assault survivor, my ultimate goal is to use my experience, my platform, and yes, my privilege, to reverse stigma and give voice to other survivors.

“We look at youth in the commercial sex industry in America as willing participants in their own victimization, ignoring the disenfranchisement that comes with being poor, from being a child, from being a girl of color, from being a homeless LGBT youth, from being a kid in foster care,” Ms. Dunham said. “We ignore what it must be like to be bought and sold by adult men and to spend your adolescence that this is what you’re worth, that your voice doesn’t matter, that you have no power.”

The actress first opened up about the assault in her memoir, “Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned.’” In her book, Ms. Dunham described an unwanted sexual encounter with a mustachioed college Republican named Barry, in which she claimed she was drunk, high on Xanax and cocaine, and not in the right condition to consent to sex.

Since the memoir’s publication, a man identified as “Barry One,” who loosely fit Ms. Dunham’s description came forward and threatened legal action. In December, Random House issued a statement that exonerated Barry One, offered to pay his legal fees, and for the first time claimed the “Barry” in Ms. Dunham’s book is a pseudonym. The actress never filed charges against her alleged attacker, despite hearing claims that he hurt two other women after her.

SEE ALSO: Lena Dunham’s publisher Random House exonerates ‘Barry One,’ offers to pay legal fees

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