Lena Dunham, The Duggars & Activists: The Low Down on a Divide in the Activist Community:
Would You Like to Stay Connected?
Update: 10/24/2015 While researching another post I discovered that there were several other bloggers and websites who had taken the position that Lena Dunham, by her own admission, had groomed and molested her sister as a child.
This post was written about an older cousin who used to babysit me. Many people who are sexually abused are abused by an older child. Maybe that is why this topic is so dear to me.
I am an adult now, and I am no longer a victim of what happened to me. But if we don’t all learn some crucial lessons, children will continue to be in danger. So listen, there is something we must discuss because children’s safety depends on it.
In Search of Sanity & Safe Space
Back when the Duggar family molestation scandal broke, a group of us advocates/activists/counselors in the sexual violence arena gathered on social media.
It was spontaneous.
We were processing the scandal. Exchanging ideas. Feelings. Firming up our positions.
Lena Dunham’s situation comes up.
Tricky. I am the only woman of color among white feminists and a guy or two.
But I’m thinking. “Been in this situation thousands of times.”
I did scroll back over the conversation. I did have concerns about whether this was “safe space” for me.
But so far it had been pretty casual & light.
My, my, my.
It turned all the way left after—Lena Dunham.
The conflict was over the question of whether or not Lena Dunham molested her sister.
Even though all of the facts had not yet come forth in the Duggar family tragedy, everyone seemed to be able to agree that based on our training and experience, we felt pretty confident that this was a classic case of child sexual abuse in their case.
Such was not the case with Lena Dunham. That, as they say, is when the sparks got hot. Moreover, most of the heat seemed to be directed my way. It was one feminist. Meanwhile, everyone else went ghost as she launched her attack on me & a bit of my culture.
I will end the story there.
Chile, some days…….
That incident happened earlier this summer. You can’t even mention Lena Dunham and child sexual abuse to some folks. Those have become fighting words for too many. “Of course, she didn’t molest anyone!” “But she wrote about it herself.” “No!” “But, you know what molestation/rape/abuse is. We both could recite this in our sleep.” “No! she! didn’t!” It gets real playground from here. The language sounds foreign to everyone except the red speakers. It is just long phrasings of social justice lingo that was never intended to be used under these conditions. ***FYI Early copies of “Not That Kind of Girl” have Lena discussing inappropriate sexual behavior in the presence of Lena’s younger sister until Lena is about 17. That is the norm with people who abuse power and control. Abusers of power and control abuse as long as they can get away with it.
Here are my 2 immediate concerns:
1.We have people running to be the leader of the free world overlooking this HUGE detail as if it means nothing. That is a damaging message to put out into society.
No one cares what you do when it comes to children as long as you’re ……..
A Feminist maybe?
2. To those of you imploring me to read her sister’s statement, I have. Many times.
Please know that I have worked with many upon many of victims of all types of violence who did not see themselves as victims.
A victim whose husband left her eyeball dangling, but she was not a victim. Just ask her.
A woman who was sitting in my prison support group pregnant, but didn’t realize that the father of the baby actually raped her until weeks into the group sessions.
I hear her sister, loud and clear. She doesn’t “feel” or think that she was victimized. I don’t want to press a label onto her. That isn’t how I serve.
I am however about accountability.
I know how to do that without having to use a “Hello My Name is Victim” label.
Even still we can hold Lena Dunham accountable for the behavior. We do it in domestic violence cases daily. No young girl or boy should ever believe that that behavior is how they ought to be treated. Never. Look, Ray Rice doesn’t even play football anymore, even though his wife said she wasn’t a victim. I’m just trying to figure out the difference. And both cases had proof.
TAKING THE “L” WHEN ABUSERS ARE NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE
By not holding ALL child sexual abusers and rapists accountable what we see with Lena Dunham is that there still is no sentiment of contrition. None.
What if two men had had that same “chat” that Lena Dunham and Presidential candidate Clinton did? I was a tad surprised when they discussed Lenny Kravitz’s wardrobe malfunction.
Among your friends and even on social media it might be slightly cute, but not in that forum.
What if that was a male famous celeb and a male candidate discussing Sofia Vegara’s wardrobe malfunction? We would be ticked off until further notice.
Who are we?
When we don’t hold ALL child sexual abusers/rapists accountable for their acts, what we show victims is that abusers have the power that they say that they have as they are grooming victims.
It makes all of their lies appear more credible.
“No one will believe you.“
Lena Dunham is getting a hall pass. And so are women abusers across this entire country.
In her book, “Not That Kind of Girl”.
I for one was disturbed that anyone could write about this behavior in such a cavalier manner and think that nothing is wrong?
About her little sister, she writes the words:
“She didn’t resist”
Where have we heard those words before?
That book wasn’t written as a confession. A soul cleansing. A soul detox.
The essay was written as part of a book written for profit. There was no teachable moment for people with these types of issues.
Lena Dunham wrote this book because she said she learned something.
I hope we all learned something.
This right here is why there continues to be the epidemic of child sexual abuse.
Folks; ebola, swine flu, or all the other things that have come along, and grabbed our complete focus has nothing on this epidemic.
Child sexual abuse is THE epidemic.
Survivors continue to suffer.
1 in 4 girls. 1 in 6 boys. We think. Society has everyone silenced so……
Clearly, if you have been deemed special by some and were given some sort of “pass” folks slip into cold deadly silence as usual.
Even to those who are mothers, advocates, activists, and feminists.
So, if it can happen to ANYONE. If, anyone and everyone can be charmed, even those who ought to know better, then what is the solution?
The children are depending upon us to find a solution right now. Their lives depend on it.
Tonya is a Social Justice Expert with over 24 years experience as a speaker, group facilitator, crisis intervention counselor, writer, advocate & activist. She holds a BS in Organizational Management & Development. Her Tortie rescue cat MiaBelle, is her longtime co-writer. More Info…..www.tonyagjprince.com