A California judge's decision to give a former Stanford University swimmer a six-month jail sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman has sparked outrage, but it has also reopened the often hushed-about discussion of sexual assault.
Collaborating with Now This News, the cast of Girls united to deliver a powerful message about the matter in hopes of creating a safer environment for survivors. "I dedicate this to the brave survivor in the Stanford case who has given so much to change the conversation," Lena Dunham captioned the video on Twitter.
Joined by fellow stars Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet, the four ladies explain the importance of facing the reality that sexual abuse happens more often that we'd like to admit, and also offer suggestions on how to be there for those who have experienced it.
"We may star on Girls together but that doesn't mean we always agree," Kirke opens. "We sometimes vote for different candidates," Zosia adds, while Lena mentions, "We have very different views on appropriate undergarments."
Jemima explains, "But there is one issue on which we are in total agreement."
I dedicate this to the brave survivor in the Stanford case who has given so much to change the conversation. https://t.co/KMOJUxvPu0— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) June 8, 2016
The ladies begin to discuss sexual assault and the alarming statistics given by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), including that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and 1 in 4 women will be sexually abused.
"This isn't a secret," Dunham says, and Williams adds, "It's a reality."
The ladies then ask, "So why is our default reaction, as a society, to disbelieve or to silence or to shame? What if we chose to turn towards those in need instead of away? To listen. To support. You have a choice to make things better...And while it's just the four of us here right now, we hope to represent the solidarity and support all survivors should be able to find."
And, of course, Lena jokes, "Which may be the first time four white women can accurately represent anything."
The cast concludes that you should offer support not because the survivor is someone's daughter or friend, but because "she is someone."
If you have experienced sexual violence and need crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).