Lena Dunham's sister responds to "sexual abuse" allegations

"I'm committed to people ... determining for themselves what has and has not been harmful"

Published November 3, 2014 5:46PM (EST)

Lena Dunham                 (AP/Arthur Mola)
Lena Dunham (AP/Arthur Mola)

On Saturday, Lena Dunham took to Twitter to respond to accusations from conservative publications National Review and Truth Revolt claiming that she had sexually abused her younger sister Grace. The articles in question misinterpreted a story from Dunham's memoir "Not That Kind of Girl," in which she recounted looking in her 1-year-old sister's vagina to see if it was the same as hers (Dunham was 7 at the time).

Now, it seems that younger Dunham has also responded to the unfounded allegations, speaking to society's impulse to define what is and is not normal.

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The passage in question reads:

"Do we all have uteruses?" I asked my mother when I was seven.

"Yes," she told me. "We're born with them, and with all our eggs, but they start out very small. And they aren't ready to make babies until we're older." I look at my sister, now a slim, tough one-year-old, and at her tiny belly. I imagined her eggs inside her, like the sack of spider eggs in Charlotte's Webb, and her uterus, the size of a thimble.

"Does her vagina look like mine?"

"I guess so," my mother said. "Just smaller."

One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn't resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked.

My mother came running. “Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!”

My mother didn't bother asking why I had opened Grace's vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did. She just on her knees and looked for herself. It quickly became apparent that Grace had stuffed six or seven pebbles in there. My mother removed them patiently while Grace cackled, thrilled that her prank had been a success.

By Joanna Rothkopf

MORE FROM Joanna Rothkopf

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Grace Dunham Lena Dunham Not That Kind Of Girl Sexual Abuse Twitter