In her just-released memoir, 27 year-old “Girls” star Lena Dunham claims that as a 19 year-old Oberlin College student in Ohio, she was raped by a college Republican. In the first chapter that addresses the encounter, Dunham describes the “ill-fated evening of lovemaking” as awkward and hollow. The most sensational moment comes from the fact that “Barry” wasn’t wearing a condom.
In the next chapter, Dunham backtracks with the claim that she’s an “unreliable narrator” and accuses “Barry” of rape:
[I]n another essay in this book I describe a sexual encounter with a mustachioed campus Republican as the upsetting but educational choice of a girl who was new to sex when, in fact, it didn’t feel like a choice at all.
At the time, Dunham says she was drunk, high on Xanax and cocaine, and therefore in no condition to give her consent. She had no idea she had been raped until she described the encounter to her roommate:
“Barry leads me to the parking lot,” she writes. “I tell him to look away. I pull down my tights to pee, and he jams a few of his fingers inside me, like he’s trying to plug me up. I’m not sure whether I can’t stop it or I don’t want to.”
The two then go back to her apartment, and Dunham — in an attempt to convince herself that she’d given consent — talks dirty to him as he forces himself on her.
The following day, when Dunham tells her roommate, Audrey, about the encounter, Audrey is horrified by her admission and tells Dunham, “You were raped.”
“I burst out laughing,” Dunham writes of her initial reaction.
Years later, while sitting in the writer’s room of HBO’s “Girls,” she pitches a “version of the Barry story” to her co-writers. She doesn’t call the incident rape, but her co-writers do.
According to this website and a Cleveland newspaper the statute of limitations for rape in the state of Ohio is 20 years. Dunham told Howard Stern the rape occurred 8 or 9 years ago but that she was only just recently able to come to terms with what happened. She has said nothing one way or the other about filing rape charges against “Barry.”
Dunham is now a public advocate for reforming campus sexual consent laws. Hopefully, Dunham will be moved to file official charges against her rapist before another woman becomes a victim.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC
This post has been updated to correct the timeline.