Guilty until proven innocent: Lena Dunham’s #rapegate debacle is bad for real victims

Lena Dunham, Planned Parenthood, SNL

Lena Dunham of HBO’s Girls fame is under scrutiny once again following the release of her book, Not That Kind of Girl. The book initially drew massive criticism over Dunham’s admission that she sexually abused her younger sister. Now the star is getting heat for lying about her alleged rape experience.  Daniel Dalton explains:

Dunham, who is a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, was interviewed on the Howard Stern Show when her book was released. On the show (before her rape story was thoroughly debunked), Dunham makes the statement, “There was a big part of me that thought people would say, ‘You’re lying’ [about being raped].” Far from safeguarding her story from that kind of backlash, however, Lena strangely opted to actually lie.

When the reputations of the accused and the integrity of victims hang in the balance, journalists and media outlets have a poignant obligation to fact-check. Daniel Dalton spoke to Live Action about the failure of the mainstream media to share stories that will help to improve the situations of America’s most vulnerable groups:

The media has blinders when it comes to rape and abortion, and it’s because they have an agenda themselves. For example, our country is increasingly pro-life according to almost any poll you look at, but you would never know it based on what the media reports. Their biased agenda has seeped into our news. Whether it’s commentary or the stories covered, the broader agenda of media is vehemently against the pro-life, pro-woman movement. We need to recognize this so we can respond appropriately. I’m so glad that organizations like Live Action News are bringing the fight online and bypassing traditional media channels.

Rape is a very real issue with which society must grapple honestly if justice is to be afforded to victims. There is no room, in the epidemic of rape culture, for skirting details and publishing stories without due diligence (as this Rolling Stone journalist did with the UVA rape story). These actions marginalize the important and tragic stories of real rape victims and confuse the discussion about solutions our society can adopt to end attacks and bring true justice.

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