Lena Dunham broke her silence Tuesday evening to clarify why she finally came forward with her sexual assault story, as well as to clear the name of the man now dubbed “Barry One.”
The essay, “Why I Chose to Speak Out,” published on Buzzfeed, was tagged with a sub-headline: “The ways I’ve been attacked for sharing my story show how far we have to go when discussing sexual assault.”
“When I finally decided to share my story, it had ambiguities and gray areas, because that’s what I experienced, because that’s what so many of us have experienced,” Dunham penned. “As indicated in the beginning of the book, I made the choice to keep certain identities private, changing names and some descriptive details.”
“To be very clear, ‘Barry’ is a pseudonym, not the name of the man who assaulted me, and any resemblance to a person with this name is an unfortunate and surreal coincidence,” she continued. “I am sorry about all he has experienced.”
“Speaking out was never about exposing the man who assaulted me,” the HBO “Girls” star added. “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 hoped beyond hope that the sensitive nature of the event would be honored, and that no one would attempt to reopen these wounds or deepen my trauma,” Dunham stated. “But this did not prove to be the case. I have had my character and credibility questioned at every turn. I have been attacked online with violent and misogynistic language. Reporters have attempted to uncover the identity of my attacker despite my sincerest attempts to protect this information.”
“Survivors have the right to tell their stories, to take back control after the ultimate loss of control. There is no right way to survive rape and there is no right way to be a victim,” Dunham concluded. “You can help by never defining a survivor by what has been taken from her. You can help by saying I believe you.”
In her book, “Not That Kind of Girl,” the writer/actress identified a man who she claims sexually assaulted her in college as a Republican named Barry. Her recollection included colorful descriptions about his character, including a mustache, purple cowboy boots and a very deep voice.
Conservative blog Breitbart News conducted an independent investigation to clear a man who some presumed committed the offense, a well-known Republican named Barry who attended liberal arts school Oberlin College at the time Dunham was a student there. The other specific descriptors turned out to be dead ends.
Dunham did not clarify the coincidence until her Buzzfeed essay, though days earlier, her publisher Random House stated that “Barry” was a pseudonym, and offered to pay the incurred legal fees of the man Breitbart dubbed “Barry One.”
Random House is also updating digital versions of the memoir to clarify any confusion. New print versions will also express that “Barry” is a pseudonym.