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Lena Dunham dedicates sexual assault PSA to Stanford victim

Published 09/06/2016

Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham and her Girls co-stars Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet have appeared in a new ad advocating society being more approachable for sexual assault victims to come forward.

Lena Dunham dedicated her new public service announcement (PSA) ad to the victim of the Stanford sexual assault.

The 30-year-old actress appeared alongside her Girls co-stars Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet in the public service announcement, which advocates a safer society to encourage sexual assault victims to come forward.

"Why is our default reaction as a society to disbelieve, or to silence, or to shame?" the actresses say in the video, which was released on Wednesday (08Jun16). "What if we chose to turn toward those in need, instead of away?"

Lena also posted a link to the video on her Twitter page and referenced the victim in the case of former Stanford swimmer Brock Allen Turner, 20, who was convicted on three counts of sexual assault.

"I dedicate this to the brave survivor in the Stanford case who has given so much to change the conversation," she wrote.

Turner was arrested on the Palo Alto campus of Stanford University in January 2015, following a fraternity party in the Kappa Alpha house. He was spotted by two Stanford graduate students lying on top of his motionless victim behind a dumpster and "thrusting" against her. The two witnesses intervened until police arrived. Officers later said the victim, who has chosen to remain anonymous, was "completely unresponsive" at the time, and was only partially clothed, with a blood alcohol level three times the level limit. Turner, meanwhile, claimed that the victim was "very drunk" and their encounter was consensual.

He faced a maximum of 14 years of jail after being found guilty of sexual assault, but was sentenced to just six months in jail with probation last week (02Jun16). The judge, who was criticised by many who deemed his sentence too lenient, said he feared a lengthier sentence would result in having a "severe impact" on Turner.

The survivor of the assault released a statement to KTVU in San Francisco via her attorney following the sentencing.

"I remain anonymous, yes to protect my identity," it read. "But it is also a statement, that all of these people are fighting for someone they don't know. That's the beauty of it. I don't need labels, categories, to prove I am worthy of respect, to prove that I should be listened to. I am coming out to you as simply a woman wanting to be heard. Yes there is plenty more I'd like to tell you about me. For now, I am every woman.

"To girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you," she said at the end of her remarks. "I fought every day for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you."

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