Not to make light of a violent crime, but I’m starting to feel violated myself:
Following the book’s release, some publications, including conservative websites Breitbart and Nation Review, sought to identify the Oberlin alumnus who raped the writer, using details from the book to narrow down the list of possible attackers.
Both Brietbart and National Review were led by their research to a man named Barry, who was a prominent campus Republican when Dunham attended the institution. They looked for men named Barry, since Dunham did not explicitly state that the attacker’s name was changed, as she did for other stories in the book.
The man Breitbart identified as ‘Barry One’ (to protect his real name) vehemently denied ever meeting Dunham, and says his reputation has now been tarnished because of the book.
He told the National Review that the experience of being connected to the attack was the ‘most unfortunate coincidence of my life’.
But in the Buzzfeed article published Tuesday, Dunham confirmed that ‘Barry’ was not the name of her attacker, and that she’s sorry someone else has been falsely tied to the crime.
‘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. I am sorry about all he has experienced.’
Dunham went on to explain her reason for writing about the rape, saying she never meant for her rapist to be identified and she does not plan to press charges.
‘Speaking out was never about exposing the man who assaulted me. 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 am in a loving and peaceful place in my life and I am not willing to sacrifice any more of it for this person I do not know, aside from one night I will never forget. That is my choice.’
We’re happy for you, Lena, much as we wish we’d never heard of you.
You don’t explain why you all but named a real person in your exposing your shame. Actually, you did name a real person: the above campus Republican named Barry. You named him as your rapist. You named him not in anger or in haste, but in writing and in rewriting and in editing and in galleys and finally in print—and then even on audiobook! If we had the stomach, we could hear you name a very recognizable Barry (not least because he was named Barry) as your rapist in your own voice.
Only to say never mind? That when you named your brutal assailant “Barry”, and described someone by that name, you were just letting your shame dry out in the sun? No wonder your lawyers and your publisher’s lawyers moved your hand across the page to pen this cringe-inducing apologia. Talk about reckless disregard for the truth.
I believe Lena Dunham was raped—because she says so. And if she wants to let it go, so do I. It’s her unbelievably good fortune that Barry does too. Considering her career, the “kind of girl” she has been is lucky.