TIME magazine has gotten an exclusive statement from Lena Dunham. The actress on HBO’s media buzzy but poorly rated Girls is having a bad week because in her memoir, which she wrote, she admitted to engaging in behaviors with her younger sister that she described as predatory. Those behaviors include paying her sister with candy to kiss her on the lips, and masturbating right next to her. An incident that Dunham describes when her sister was still an infant is also front and center in the controversy.
One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist, and when I saw what was inside I shrieked. “My mother came running. “Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!”
My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things that I did.
So there was a pattern of behavior, that ran for about 10 years, from the time that Lena Dunham was about 7 years old to when she was about 17. Her parents were aware of it but never did anything about it. This was a twisted family life, of which young Grace was the victim. That she remains friends with her older sister, the perpetrator, now is irrelevant. Her older sister robbed her of ever knowing what is and is not acceptable behavior with an infant.
Dunham initially blamed the controversy on the “right wing,” but that has failed. She has threatened to sue Truth Revolt and by implication, everyone else who has reported on what she wrote in her own book. That backfired. It got more people interested in the ghastly story.
So now, this statement to TIME.
I am dismayed over the recent interpretation of events described in my book Not That Kind of Girl.
First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances.
Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention. I am also aware that the comic use of the term “sexual predator” was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well.
As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval.
This excuse changes nothing. Dunham claims that she does not “condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances,” but she clearly condoned and celebrated her own behavior until she was called out on it. Then she tried to deflect blame and silence her critics. Saying that “sexual predator” was used “comically” simply won’t fly.
Dunham is in full damage-control mode now.