SANTA MONICA—Lena Dunham, the 29-year old writer, star and creator of HBO’s hit series GIRLS, honored her friend, producer Judd Apotow, 47, at the Rape Foundation Annual Brunch located in Santa Monica on Sunday.
“I would not have emerged from the darkness without Judd Apatow,” says Dunham regarding her sexual assault that happened almost 10 years ago while she was in college. She speaks about the assault in her book, Not That Kind of Girl.
Dunham insists that Apatow helped her though the “darkness of her past” and was there to help her tell her story. She describes the producer, known for his hit movies 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wanderlust and The 5 Year Engagement as her “brother/dad/son/husband/dad” and a “tireless advocate for women.”
“When I decided to write about my experience with sexual assault, Judd was one of the first people that I shared the essay with. His notes were kind and considerate, and made the work infinitely stronger just as his support made me infinitely stronger when the story was met with backlash,” says Dunham. “I can safely say I would not have emerged from the darkness of that period without the constant check-ins, sweet jokes and unwavering loving presence of Judd, but he was more than a friend – he was a consistent reminder to me of something his work has always represented, which is that it’s never wrong to speak the truth. Thank you so much Judd. I love you.”
Apatow, who is very vocal about speaking up against sexual assault, said, “It feels a little silly because there are people at the Rape Treatment Center who are doing such amazing work every day, all day, helping people.”
Although Lena’s assault happened quite some time ago, in an essay she wrote for Buzzfeed she explains how speaking up about it has allowed her “shame” to “dry out in the sun.”
“Barry” is the pseudonym she uses in her book for the man who allegedly raped her. According to Dunham, it is not the actual name of the perpetrator.
“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.”
Lena’s essay suggests that she is uninterested in revenge but rather wants to heal from the assault, to come out of it as a stronger woman, and to help other survivors tell their stories.