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Lena Dunham Opens Up About Rape Ordeal During Acceptance Speech

"As a feminist and sexual assault survivor, my ultimate goal is to use my experience, my platform and yes, my privilege, to reverse stigma and give voice to other survivors."

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Lena Dunham was one of the honorees at Variety's Power of Women event in New York this weekend.

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The 28-year-old actress was handed an award for her work with GEMS, an organisation based in New York to empower young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.

The Girls star took to the stage and used the opportunity to speak out about her alleged rape ordeal to help other sexual assault survivors.

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Lena, who has previously opened up about the attack in her book Not That Kind Of Girl, explained how "powerless" she had felt and that it took years for her to come to terms with it.

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When I was raped, I felt powerless. I felt my value had been determined by someone else,' she explained. Someone who sent me the message that my body was not my own and my choices were meaningless. It took years to recognize my worth was not tied to my assault, the voices telling me I deserved this were phantoms, they were liars.

So as a feminist and sexual assault survivor, my ultimate goal is to use my experience, my platform and yes, my privilege, to reverse stigma and give voice to other survivors.

Lena, who wrote an article on BuzzFeed following backlash about her rape claims in her book, also spoke out to defend young girls who have fallen into sex trafficking during her speech.

Despite this clear lack of agency, we as a society somehow think that 14-year-old runaways make a choice to be in the commercial sex industry. We call these girls names and judge them and write pop songs celebrating their assailants and their fancy sneakers.

We think that locking them up will help them make better choices. We look at youth in the commercial sex industry in America as willing participants in their own victimization, ignoring the disenfranchisement that comes with being poor, from being a child, from being a girl of color, from being a homeless LGBT youth, from being a kid in foster care.

And her words were immediately praised online.

@lenadunham thank-you again for speaking the truth. You deserve to be the voice of our generation. #OysterMag http://t.co/80nxz2gj0C

so powerful i'm blubbering. thank you @lenadunham for voicing these much needed conversations. #beheard #feminism https://t.co/0k0YsTOIvQ

Other stars including Whoopi Goldberg, Rachel Weisz and Kim Kardashian were also honoured at the gala. As was Glenn Close, who spoke about mental illness, something she's had firsthand experience of in her family.

Watch the video of Dunham's speech in full here.

View this video on YouTube

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